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 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...

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...

A recent discussion on the Laboratory Animal Refinement and Enrichment Forum (LAREF) focused on new enrichment ideas for rabbits. Contributors shared their experiences about which toys and treats get rave reviews from rabbits.

This study assessed the effects of an elevated plastic-slatted platform and/or a plastic hiding tube in collective pens with large group sizes (27 or 36 rabbits/pen; 16 rabbits/m2) on the performance and welfare of rabbits...

This article describes the importance of providing laboratory animals with opportunities to engage in play, and provides a few practical ideas for how to do this.

The aim of this research was to evaluate the possible usefulness of mirrors in improving rabbit behavior in a free-range breeding system. Three groups (each consisting of nine replicates of three animals) were compared: isolated...

As a large institution housing a variety of species, providing meaningful enrichment to all animals can be an expensive endeavor. Additionally, animal care staff already has a full schedule of responsibilities, including daily animal health...

A three-week enrichment preference study trialling different substrates, food and pen structures was carried out in three, group-housed female New Zealand White Rabbits (NZW). Preference results: structural - rabbits spent the most time with a...

The beneficial effect of music has been demonstrated in many species. Although commercially available music CDs intended for use with rabbits are available, these enrichments have not been critically evaluated to determine whether they reduce...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 14 November 2017 in Weybridge, UK. The first session addressed meeting animals' needs and aiming for a 'good life', with the needs...

Laboratory animals experience a large amount of environmental stress. An animal’s environment can include both physiological and social stressors that may require an animal to adapt to maintain allostatic balance. For example, thermal stress can...

Rabbits are gregarious animals that live in social groups in the wild so individually housing our animals, while meeting the present scientific objectives, restricts their natural social behaviour. How to meet the social needs of...

Since the antibody production facility at Envigo RMS opened in 2015 we have been offering our rabbits a variety of disposable and non-disposable enrichment in a floor pen arrangement. There is a perception that our...

Environmental enrichment in zoos and aquariums is often evaluated at two overlapping levels: published research and day‐to‐day institutional record keeping. Several authors have discussed ongoing challenges with small sample sizes in between‐groups zoological research and...

Although the number of rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) produced in Europe is important, they are under-represented in welfare research. Studies on the effects of housing conditions have focused on performance and mortality. We conducted a meta-analysis...

Environmental enrichment is an integral part of animal care practices. Enrichment generally refers to items we provide to the animals to support their behavioral needs. It provides a way to functionally simulate the natural environment...

The objective of the study was to investigate if environmental enrichment and the composition of the social group would affect the behavior and relative brain weight of growing rabbits. Rabbits (72 males and 72 females)...

Regulatory requirements provide instructions on enrichment specifically for nonhuman primates, but we believe all animals can benefit from enrichment if it is structured for that species. Hired as the Director of Behavior Management and Environmental...

This poster is based on welfare improvements gained from group housing rabbits in floor pens in the new Antibody Production Facility with a focus on development, behaviours and environmental enrichment in both male and female...

The study of laboratory animal behavior has increased steadily over the last decade, with expanding emphasis on a variety of commonly used species. In the United States, this trend was initially focused on species for...

One hallmark of psychiatric conditions is the vast continuum of individual differences in susceptibility vs. resilience resulting from the interaction of genetic and environmental factors. The environmental enrichment paradigm is an animal model that is...

Although our enrichment program meets all USDA, AAALAC, and IACUC standards, we wanted to do more for the animals. Due to a limited budget, we were faced with the challenge of enhancing our program without...

One aspect of maintaining and updating an environmental enrichment program is regular review of enrichment devices and their current uses. The review includes maintaining an accurate inventory to reflect the animal census, evaluating species-specific use...

For anyone who has housed rabbits in an artificial plastic environment, what to provide as a nonfood enrichment can be an issue. Nonfood enrichment, or environmental enrichment, can be any toy, engaging sights or sounds...

There is widespread support within the scientific community for the concept that better welfare equals better science. It is also broadly accepted that environmental enrichment improves welfare. I have seen much evidence of support for...

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