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. 

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...

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 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...

Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...

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...

Relationships between animals and their human caretakers can have profound impacts on animal welfare in farms, laboratories and zoos, while human attitudes are important predictors of caretaker behavior towards livestock. In this study, we examined...

The current extinction crisis leaves us increasingly reliant on captive populations to maintain vulnerable species. Approximately one third of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are living in semi-captive conditions in range countries. Their relationship with humans...

In comparison to non-human animals, humans are highly flexible in cooperative tasks, which may be a result of their ability to understand a partner’s role in such interactions. Here, we tested if wolves and dogs...

Achieving and maintaining high standards of animal welfare is critical to the success of a modern zoo. Research has shown that an animal's welfare is highly dependent on how various individual animal factors (e.g., species...

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...

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...

Training nonhuman animals in captivity for participation in routine husbandry procedures is believed to produce a lower stress environment compared with undergoing a general anesthetic event for the same procedure. This hypothesis rests largely on...

As recorded in domestic nonhuman animals, regular interactions between animals in zoos and keepers and the resulting relationship formed (human– animal relationship [HAR]) are likely to influence the animals’ behaviors with associated welfare consequences. HAR...

The most common methods for rabbit urine collection are newborn stroking, cystocentesis, and transfer to a metabolism cage.2 None of these options allow for a significant, quality amount of urine to be collected in vivo...

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...

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...

Some human-animal relationships can be so positive that they confer emotional well-being to both partners and can thus be viewed as bonds. In this study, 130 delegates at zoo research and training events completed questionnaires...

Routine laboratory procedures can be stressful for laboratory animals. We wanted to determine whether human handling of adult rabbits could induce a degree of habituation, reducing stress and facilitating research-related manipulation. To this end, adult...

Environmental enrichment strategies are used to improve both the physiological and psychological welfare of captive animals, which can be achieved by increasing the expression of natural behaviour and decreasing abnormal behaviours. Examples of successful environmental...

COST Action B-24 established four working groups to research and discuss issues relevant to laboratory animal science. These included the housing of animals, environmental needs, refinement of procedures, genetically modified animals, and cost-benefit analysis. Based...

When studying pharmacokinetics in rabbits, researchers must often take multiple blood samples from conscious rabbits. Researchers usually collect these samples via the auricular vein, typically through a port or an indwelling catheter. The authors have...

The report sets out how to provide: optimal enclosure characteristicsand size; social housing; solid flooring and substrate; raised areas; refuges; gnawing objects and dietary enrichment; positive interaction with humans; toys and objects to manipulate; for...

Because of the influence in behaviour, we can say that visitors are a kind of environmental enrichment. .... Sometimes visitors have a negative effect (increase of aggressive behaviour, begging for food) and in some cases...

Rabbits were fed a high-cholesterol diet to induce atherosclerosis. Animals who received special attention from a person (frequent handling, petting, playing, gentle vocalization) showed a markedly lower incidence of atheroslerosis than subjects who received no...

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