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. 

Husbandry procedures and facility settings, such as low-frequency fire alarms, can produce noises in a laboratory environment that cause stress to animals used in research. However, most of the data demonstrating harmful effects that have...

This article describes the care of central bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) as well as Pygmy bearded dragons (Pogona henrylawsoni). It includes information on housing, feeding, handling and sexing technique, as well as the general health...

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...

This article describes the care of the Children’s python (Antaresia childreni). It includes information on housing, feeding, handling, as well as the general health care of these animals. The information presented is derived from Standard...

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...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Working Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 25 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and...

Many animals use their excrements to communicate with others. In order to increase signal efficacy, animals often behaviourally select for specific defecation sites that maximize the detectability of their faecal deposits, such as the tip...

Many husbandry routines in zoo herpetology are based on tradition, authoritarianism, anecdote, or speculation. However, relatively few empirical studies underlie many very common practices. We compared growth rates among littermates of Boa constrictor raised under...

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...

This work aimed at evaluating the effects of housing system, pen floor type, and lactation management on rabbit doe and kit performance throughout a reproductive cycle, including categorization of aggressiveness and injuries. Forty multiparous pregnant...

We recorded the thermoregulatory patterns of five Aldabra giant tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea) (25-193 kg) during spring (ZRH spring trial), after the installation of a heating area (concrete heat pad and basking lamp) at Zurich Zoo...

Rabbits are known to be finicky about food and will reject it based upon several factors: odor, texture, form, or method of presentation. It can be an even greater challenge to get rabbits to eat...

Many reptiles require ultraviolet-B radiation between 290 and 315 nm (UV-B) to synthesize vitamin D3 and process dietary calcium. In captivity, exposure to too little or too much UV-B can result in health problems such...

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...

At Colorado State University we have an investigator who requested care for 2 different species of pythons, the green tree python (Morelia viridis) and the ball python (Python reguis), to study the pathology of an...

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...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 1 November 2016 at the University of Edinburgh and was attended by 70 delegates. Presentation topics included refinements in blood sampling rodents...

The keeping of exotic pets is currently under debate and governments of several countries are increasingly exploring the regulation, or even the banning, of exotic pet keeping. Major concerns are issues of public health and...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 21 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on rodent welfare issues and share experiences...

At Pfizer’s Pearl River site, rabbits are socially housed in pairs or triples in dog runs that have been converted into rabbit pens. The daily husbandry and maintenance of these pens, however, proved to be...

Keeping animals in captivity should always favour conditions that aim to improve their welfare with respect to species-specific requirements. For laboratory animals, the majority of welfare issues have been explored in rodents thus far, whereas...

Staggering food availability through a delivery device is a common way of providing behavioural enrichment as it is usually thought to increase the amount of natural behaviour due to the unpredictability of the food source...

This article will describe alterations made by the University of Glasgow to increase the welfare of our Zebra finches by providing them with a more complex environment to engage with. It will describe how we...

Dietary composition and presentation impacts on the behaviour of animals, and failure to provide a suitable diet can lead to reduced welfare through the development of poor health, the inability to express normal behaviours and...

The most common housing system for reproduction rabbits, individual cage housing on a wire floor, is increasingly scrutinized because of its potential detrimental impact on animal welfare. We compared three types of housing: (1) individual...

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