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 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...

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...

Every animal species has particular environmental requirements that are essential for its welfare, and when these so-called “basic needs” are not fulfilled, the animals suffer. The basic needs of horses have been claimed to be...

A common goal of captive animal institutions is to create environments that allow for the most naturalistic behavior from their animals. Behavioral data is often used as a measure of how an animal is thriving...

Reactions to dying and dead conspecifics have been observed in many non-human animals. Elephants, particularly African elephants, are thought to have an awareness of the death of their conspecifics, as they show compassionate behaviour towards...

The welfare status of elephants under human care has been a contentious issue for two decades or more in numerous western countries. Much effort has gone into assessing the welfare of captive elephants at individual...

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...

Horses kept for meat production are reared in intensive breeding farms. We employed a checklist adapted from the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) assessment protocol. Our evaluation aims to assess whether welfare indicators are influenced by...

This is the 5th volume of selected discussions that took place on the electronic Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum between February 2016 and December 2019. The forum was created in October 2002; it allows...

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...

This work provides an overview of the role of chemical communication in horse behavior and addresses the potential usefulness of this knowledge for management practices and animal welfare. First, we present an outline of the...

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...

Modern day zoos and aquariums continuously assess the welfare of their animals and use evidence to make informed management decisions. Historically, many of the indicators of animal welfare used to assess the collection are negative...

Horses reared for meat production can be kept in intensive breeding farms where they are housed in group pens at high stocking densities. The present study aimed to evaluate whether the expressed behaviours correlated with...

This ethical discourse specifically deals with dilemmas encountered within zoological institutions, namely for the concept of natural living, and a new term—wilding. It is agreed by some that zoos are not ethically wrong in principle...

In mammals, play behaviour appears innate and, because of this, may provide insight into the frequency and intensity of load that is required to stimulate positive musculoskeletal development. The objective of this review was to...

This article describes the natural behaviors of tree shrews and how to accommodate for their care and welfare in a laboratory, including information on infant rearing and diet, caging, environmental enrichment, and mitigation of stressors.

Completely updated and revised, and with a new author team, this second edition of Farm Animal Behaviour continues to provide essential information on normal and stereotypic behaviors in a wide variety of farm animals to...

Performance of abnormal repetitive behavior (ARB) is noted in many captive wild species. ARB can be categorized into 2 basic forms: those whose aim appears to be to compulsively reach an inappropriate goal and those...

Husbandry of these unusual and complicated creatures requires creativity and attention to species-specific needs. Authors from the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), SUNY Downstate, and McMaster University formed a collaboration aimed at optimizing the health...

The ability to monitor the welfare of animal collections in zoological institutions is critical to the mission of these facilities. Historically, zoos have utilised negative indicators of welfare, such as stereotypic behaviour to examine and...

Maintaining a dominant position in a hierarchy requires energetically expensive aggressive displays and physical exertion. Lab based winner–loser studies, often conducted with individuals from non-social species, have shown that subordinates have higher stress hormone levels...

Evidence for behavioural and brain lateralisation is now widespread among the animal kingdom; lateralisation of limb use (pawedness) occurs in several mammals including both feral and domestic horses. We investigated limb preferences in 14 Quarter...

The Guide for the Care and Use of Animals and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (AWR) outline minimum space requirements for laboratory animals, including rabbits. These documents encourage housing of animals in enclosures that allow...

We suggest that by providing animals with food in a more natural form (i.e., not cut to a standardized size), they would have an opportunity to process the food in a manner that best approaches...

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