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. 

The Becton Dickinson (BD) Research Animal Care Program has developed an acclimation and enrichment program that has enhanced animal welfare for studies requiring single housing, contributed to a culture of care, increased transparency, and improved...

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...

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...

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...

Gastrointestinal stasis is a common perianaesthetic complication in rabbits. The objective of this study was to assess the impact on gastrointestinal transit time of ketamine–midazolam (KMZ) versus ketamine–medetomidine (later antagonised by atipamezole) (KMT-A) in rabbits...

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...

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...

Population-level analyses suggest that habitat complexity, but not necessarily space availability, has important welfare outcomes for elephants in human care. At the Dallas Zoo, the opening of a new exhibit complex allowed us to measure...

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.

Rabbits are prone to complications from both anaesthesia and anxiety. Given that anxiety can often impact quality of anaesthesia, we developed a novel cage-side anxiety assessment, and sought to determine whether it correlated to pre-...

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...

Calvarial bone surgery on rabbits is frequently performed. This report aims to document a simple and practical anaesthetic and perioperative management for this procedure. Fourteen male New Zealand white rabbits were included in the study...

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...

This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Handling and restraining rabbits for routine procedures may be impossible without prior sedation, result in unnecessary stress or injury to the rabbit or handler, and increase experimental variability. Parenteral administration of sedatives can cause stress...

The aim of this study was to evaluate a total intravenous anaesthesia (TIVA) protocol using propofol and sufentanil without neuromuscular blocking agents (NBAs) for a non-recovery lung pathology study in rabbits including 10 h of...

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...

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...

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