Refinement Database

Database on Refinement of Housing, Husbandry, Care, and Use of Animals in Research

This database, created in 2000, is updated every three months with newly published scientific articles, books, and other publications related to improving or safeguarding the welfare of animals used in research.

Links to the full text for publications that appear in open access journals or are published on the AWI website are provided under the abstract.

Tips for using the database:

  • This landing page displays all of the publications in the database.
  • Use the drop-down menus to filter these publications by Animal Type and/or Topic.
  • Clicking on a parent category (e.g., Rodent) will include publications relating to all the items in that category (e.g., Chinchilla, Gerbil, Guinea pig, etc.).
  • You may also add a keyword to further narrow your search.
  • Please note that at this time, only publications dated 2010 or later (with some exceptions) can be filtered by Animal Type and Topic. Most publications older than 2010 can only be searched by keyword. 

The concept of the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement) has been used as a framework for improving the welfare of laboratory animals for the last half century. By establishing an animal-centric view on housing and...

In aquatic ecology, studies have commonly employed a tagging technique known as visible implant elastomer (VIE). This method has not been widely adopted by the zebrafish research community and also lacks refinement with regard to...

The aim of this work is to investigate the effect of a temperature increase on the behaviour of adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) maintained for 21 days at 34 °C (treatment) and 26 °C (control). The temperatures chosen...

Pet rabbit welfare is a hidden crisis: Inappropriately housed, fed, and not routinely provided healthcare—rabbits can often suffer painful conditions and shortened lifespans. This study provides novel understanding of owners’ perceptions of rabbits’ mental capabilities...

Traditional animal welfare paradigms have focused on maintaining physical health and mitigating negative impacts to wellbeing. Recently, however, the field has increasingly recognized the importance of positive welfare (i.e., mental and physical states that exceed...

Emotional contagion has recently been described in fish but whether it is affected by familiarity is not known. We tested whether the sight of a distressed conspecific elicited fear in zebrafish, Danio rerio, and whether...

We searched a selection of the scientific literature to document evidence for, and explorations into reptile sentience. The intention of this review was to highlight; (1) to what extent reptile capability for emotions have been...

Demarking individual animals within a group is often required in research. However, the process of invasive tagging induces stress and if a tag becomes detached it may wound the animal and/or prevent identification. Photo identification...

Tracking individual animals with small-sized passive integrated transponder tags (PIT tags) has become a popular and widespread method, one which can be used for investigating life history traits, including dispersal patterns of small protected animals...

This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...

In recent years, there has been a great increase in the interest of "emotion" and how it can be studied and translated from animals. Emotions arise when the brain receives an external stimulus, while the...

Zebrafish, a highly-social species of freshwater fish, are widely studied across many fields of laboratory science including developmental biology, neuroscience, and genomics. Nevertheless, as standard housing for zebrafish typically consists of small and simplistic environments...

One commonly used method to preserve individual identity in the study of social behavior of zebrafish is through silicone-based visible implant elastomers (VIEs), which represent a safe and durable tagging procedure. While the effects of...

This work investigated the differences in the reactivity of Sarda (primiparous n = 18, multiparous n = 17) and Dorset (multiparous n = 8) breeds of sheep and their singleton lambs to two challenging test...

Anticipatory behaviours may serve a useful tool in studying positive emotional states in animals. This study aimed to investigate if lambs express anticipatory behaviours for opportunities to play or a food reward and if these...

The inhibitory avoidance paradigm allows the study of mechanisms underlying learning and memory formation in zebrafish (Danio rerio Hamilton). For zebrafish, the physiology and behavior associated with this paradigm are as yet poorly understood. We...

Fish are one of the most highly utilised vertebrate taxa by humans; they are harvested from wild stocks as part of global fishing industries, grown under intensive aquaculture conditions, are the most common pet and...

The detection and assessment of pain in animals is crucial to improving their welfare in a variety of contexts in which humans are ethically or legally bound to do so. Thus clear standards to judge...

There is evidence that the presence of a conspecific can alter the experience of pain in humans and other animals. This ‘social buffering’ may be mediated by factors such as relatedness and familiarity. This study...

Fear in farm animals has been extensively studied because of its close relation to animal welfare. Numerous studies have categorized the behavioral responses of animals to stimuli that can elicit a fear reaction under social...

Fish have the same stress response and powers of nociception as mammals. Their behavioural responses to a variety of situations suggest a considerable ability for higher level neural processing – a level of consciousness equivalent...

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