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. 

Gentle tactile stimuli have been shown to play an important role in the establishment and maintenance of affiliative social interactions. Oxytocin has also been shown to have similar actions. We investigated the effects of gentle...

Physical touch can help to decrease the effects of stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of tactile stimulation on the hormonal and behavioral responses of young adult rats submitted to...

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...

Positive stockperson attitudes to his or her animals is associated with a positive behavioural response in the animals and in other indicators assumed to reflect a high level of welfare as well as increased productivity...

Despite evidence for rat tickling’s animal welfare benefits, the technique is rarely implemented in part because of a lack of training. This study’s purpose was to determine the efficacy of online-only or online + hands-on...

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...

The poultry team at The Pirbright Institute reviewed existing husbandry practices and trialled several refinement practices. The objective was to provide the birds used in research with an environment which enables them to express their...

This article investigates the barriers to implementing higher caging in animal research establishments in the UK. The use of animals in research and testing in the UK is regulated by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act...

Laboratory rat welfare is critically influenced by laboratory animal personnel through their implementation, or lack of implementation, of various enrichment techniques. One such promising technique is heterospecific play, or “rat tickling”, which mimics aspects of...

Regular visual presence of humans is known to reduce chickens' human-generated stress responses. Here we questioned whether, more than mere visual presence, human behaviour affects laying hen behaviour and subsequently their offspring's behaviour. We hypothesized...

Laboratory rats may experience stress during handling which can reduce their welfare. Rat tickling, a handling technique that mimics aspects of rat rough-and-tumble play, has been found to induce positive affect based on production of...

Rats find initial interactions with humans frightening, which can lead to negative affect, and poor welfare. A handling technique called “tickling”, which mimics rat rough-and-tumble play, can be used to reduce these negative effects. When...

The transportation of animals from supplier to experimental facility is one of the biggest stressors to animals in research. Transportation unavoidably causes stress and when the animals arrive at the testing facility they require a...

Poultry transport systems are currently under investigation with a particular focus on design and dimensions of commercially available transport crates. The height of the crates currently used is debated and considered by some parties to...

The ability of positive affective states to counteract negative states engendered by routine medical procedures remains poorly studied. In laboratory rats, positive affect typically associated with rough-and-tumble play can be induced through human “hand play”...

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...

Social interactions during adolescence are important especially for neuronal development and behavior. We recently showed that positive emotions induced by repeated tickling could modulate fear-related behaviors and sympatho-adrenal stress responses. In the present study, we...

Social housing is recommended for laboratory rats because they are highly social mammals but research constraints or medical issues often demand individual housing and, when social housing is practiced, it typically involves housing with only...

Handling of laboratory rats can increase physiological and emotional stress, leading to a fearful relationship with humans. We hypothesized that the affective quality of handling techniques used during routine care influences the animals' fear of...

Some environmental interventions can result in physiologic and behavioral changes in laboratory animals. In this context, the handling of adolescent or adult rodents has been reported to influence exploratory behavior and emotionality. Here we examined...

We conclude that handling experimental animals more often than only at the time their cage is changes is beneficial.

This article provides details to consider when preparing to use animals in biomedical research. The stress of transport and receipt of animals into a new environment mandate the need for a period of stabilization and...

Open-field behaviour of individually gentled and nonhandled adult male Wistar rats was studied in a mildly novel test situation. The gentled rats were more active and showed fewer signs of fear on the first trial...

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