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. 

This review paper is a synthesis of results from multiple studies that we have conducted over the past several years using similar methodologies to identify factors related to welfare of captive populations of elephants in...

Evaluations of enrichment are critical to determine if an enrichment program is meeting stated goals. However, nocturnal species can present a challenge if their active periods do not align with caretakers’ schedules. To evaluate enrichment...

Dental disorders can cause discomfort and chronic pain, affecting the athletic performance and welfare of the horses. However, dental disorders may not be manifested with recognizable clinical signs and may, therefore, lead to late diagnosis...

Infra-red thermography (IRT) is a non-invasive tool for measuring eye temperature as an indicator of stress and welfare in animals. Previous studies state that images are taken from 90° but do not specify a reference...

This article describes the steps for making a DIY guinea pig or rabbit cardboard foraging ball. Pictures are provided for each step as well as the completed ball. These cardboard foraging balls can be made...

Emotional recognition has been demonstrated to occur between members of different species. However, the majority of studies on interspecific communication of emotions so far focused on the senses of vision and hearing while the contribution...

Research in ecology and wildlife biology remains crucial for increasing our knowledge and improving species management and conservation in the midst of the current biodiversity crisis. However, obtaining information on population status often involves invasive...

Ruminants evolved in diverse landscapes of which they utilized, by choice, a diverse arrangement of plants (grasses, forbs, and trees) for food. These plants provide them with both primary (carbohydrates, protein, etc.) and secondary (phenolics...

The regulations for minimal space and direction of travel for land transport in horses vary worldwide and there is currently no definitive guidance to promote equine health and welfare. This study evaluated the effects of...

Horse confinement is a common practice worldwide. However, preventing horses from grazing and denying them social interaction can compromise their welfare and lead to undesirable consequences. Considering the hypothesis that increasing the forage consumption time...

In semi-natural mixed-sex groups, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) organize their social life by forming a hierarchy, which is characterized by linearity and stability. Compared to the natural environment, many factors are different in contemporary breeding systems...

A human–animal relationship can be developed through subsequent interactions, affected by the positive or negative emotional valence of the proceeding one. Horses implement a process of categorization to classify humans with whom they interact as...

We explore elephant play behaviour since (a) play has been proposed to represent a potential welfare indicator; and (b) play has been associated with long-term survival in the wild. We categorised play into four types...

Ensuring good health and welfare is an increasingly important consideration for conservation of endangered species and includes breeding of individuals managed under human care. Understanding how factors in the captive environment affect individual animal wellbeing...

Objective pain assessment in donkeys is of vital importance for improving welfare in a species that is considered stoic. This study presents the construction and testing of two pain scales, the Equine Utrecht University Scale...

The aim of the study was to assess the effect of two different stunning methods on the level of blood stress indicators (cortisol, insulin, glucose) and rabbit meat quality. The experiment was conducted on crossbreds...

This study analyzed the rectal and surface temperature of the horse's body, its heart rate variability parameters, and the step length when walking and trotting geriatric horses using blankets with various thermoinsulating properties. Twenty-four hot-blooded...

The serval (Leptailurus serval) is a small African felid that is well represented in zoos and often serves as an animal ambassador in encounter programs with zoo visitors. The impact on serval welfare in relation...

Over the last two decades, criticisms were raised regarding the welfare experienced by elephants in European and North American zoos. Concerns regarding the welfare of zoo-housed elephants in the UK and Europe were consolidated in...

Comprehensively explains animal learning theories and current best practices in animal training within zoos. This accessible, up-to-date book on animal training in a zoo/aquaria context provides a unified approach to zoo animal learning, bringing together...

Given the paucity of published data on the effects of artificial weaning on mares, the aim of the present study was to investigate the behavioral and hormonal effects of two different weaning methods in trotter...

Plasma lipid and glucose levels are important parameters for evaluating the onset and development of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. In clinical and experimental studies of humans or mice, fasting is often required before testing plasma...

During the last decade, a number of pain assessment tools based on facial expressions have been developed for horses. While all tools focus on moveable facial muscles related to the ears, eyes, nostrils, lips, and...

Passive integrated transponder (PIT)‐tagging is commonly used in behavioural studies of fish, although long‐term evaluations of effects from tagging under natural conditions are scarce. We PIT‐tagged common bream Abramis brama, European perch Perca fluviatilis, pike...

Endangered whooping cranes (Grus americana ) have been produced in captivity for reintroduction programs since the 1980s, using techniques such as artificial insemination, multiple clutching, and captive‐rearing to speed recovery efforts. Chicks are often hand‐reared...

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