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. 

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...

Pathological lesions of feet occur frequently in captive elephant populations. To improve foot health, it is important to identify risk factors associated with such pathologies. Several previous studies have analyzed potentially influencing factors but were...

Modern zoos strive to improve standards of animal management, husbandry and welfare of their animals as part of a continual evaluation process. Elephants (Elephantidae) have received particular attention in recent years due to the challenge...

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...

Caring for all aspects of zoo elephants’ well-being is considered a major challenge. Providing an appropriate flooring substrate to facilitate lying rest presents a meaningful part of a holistic management concept. Investigating the impact of...

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...

The interaction of internal clocks and environmental conditions determines the daily behavioural rhythm of an animal. Due to the strong influence of light, these circadian rhythms oscillate in mammals over a cycle length of about...

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...

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...

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...

For many species in zoos, particularly megafauna vulnerable to heat stress, shade is a key environmental resource. However, shade availability has received comparatively less attention than other aspects of the zoo environment. In this study...

GPS collars have revolutionized the field of animal ecology, providing detailed information on animal movement and the habitats necessary for species survival. GPS collars also have the potential to cause adverse effects ranging from mild...

It is recommended that browse should be an important part of diets for browsing and intermediate feeding type ruminants. However, provision of browse in winter time is problematic for many zoos located in the temperate...

A recent large-scale welfare study in North America involving 106 Asian (Elephas maximus) and 131 African (Loxodonta africana) elephants at 64 accredited facilities identified links (i.e., risk factors) between zoo environmental factors and a number...

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...

Elephants experience a number of health issues that can contribute to their well-being and survival. In managed populations, housing conditions and management practices can influence individual health, so potential risk factors associated with morbidity or...

Zoos play a vital role in managing and conserving a wide range of threatened species and in enhancing their populations in natural habitats through captive breeding and reintroduction programmes. Most small felids are poor breeders...

In fiscal year 2016, agricultural animals such as swine, sheep, goats, and cattle represented 10% of the 820 812 animals used in USDA-regulated research. In addition to traditional agricultural animals, research studies using captive wildlife...

In anticipation of a major construction project in an urban New Zealand zoo, a study was initiated to assess the response to construction noise of selected animal species (elephant, giraffe, emu and alligator) previously observed...

The time that penguins devote to aquatic behaviors likely has important implications for their welfare in zoos and aquariums. For decades, field researchers have used time-depth recorders (TDRs) to understand the behavior of penguins at...

A review of the scientific literature on bison was carried out as part of the National Farm Animal Care Council´s (NFACC) process of updating Canada’s current Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of...

Concern for elephant welfare in zoological facilities has prompted a number of exhibit and management modifications, including those involving enrichment. Knowledge of how these changes impact indicators of welfare, such as elephant movement and behaviour...

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...

Zoo‐housed bears are prone to exhibiting stereotypic behaviors, generally considered indicators of negative welfare. We explored the effects of a variable‐time feeding enrichment schedule on behavioral indicators of welfare in four bear species at Cleveland...

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...

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