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. 

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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...

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 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...

The field of zoo animal welfare science has developed significantly over recent years. However despite this progress in terms of scientific research, globally, zoo animals still face many welfare challenges. Recently, animal welfare frameworks such...

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...

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...

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...

Performance of abnormal repetitive behavior (ARB) is noted in many captive wild species. ARB can be categorized into 2 basic forms: those whose aim appears to be to compulsively reach an inappropriate goal and those...

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...

Screening for metabolic-related health problems can enhance animal welfare, so the purpose of this study was to conduct the first metabolic health assessment of zoo elephants and use epidemiological methods to determine how factors in...

As part of a multi-institutional study of zoo elephant welfare, we evaluated female elephants managed by zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and applied epidemiological methods to determine what factors in the...

Obesity has a negative effect on health and welfare of many species, and has been speculated to be a problem for zoo elephants. To address this concern, we assessed the body condition of 240 elephants...

This study quantified social life events hypothesized to affect the welfare of zoo African and Asian elephants, focusing on animals that were part of a large multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional elephant welfare study in North America. Age...

Successful pregnancy in African elephants is influenced by biological and environmental factors. For managed elephants many of these factors are set directly or indirectly by their human care takers, including nutrition and husbandry. While African...

For more than three decades, foot and musculoskeletal conditions have been documented among both Asian [Elephas maximus] and African [Loxodonta africana] elephants in zoos. Although environmental factors have been hypothesized to play a contributing role...

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...

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