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. 
Here, we evaluated if visual barriers could reduce intraspecific agonism in an all-male group of Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) living in a zoo. Crocodiles were monitored for nearly 100 h, and four “hotspots” of aggression...
Long-term, multi-institutional assessments have become a reliable tool for evaluating patterns of wounding in zoo-living primates, with results informing on best practices for species-specific care protocols and population management strategies. For western lowland gorillas (Gorilla...
The assessment and understanding of Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Elimination (ADME) for new pharmaceuticals is required in regulatory submissions. Typically, ADME studies are conducted using metabolism cages designed for the single housing of animals to...
Responses to stress are unavoidable, adaptive mechanisms in humans and non-human animals. However, in humans, chronic stress has been linked to poor health outcomes and early mortality. Allostatic load, the physiologic dysregulation that occurs when...
Despite no significant difference in wounding between bachelor and mixed-sex groups of western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in zoological settings, anecdotal concerns around the frequency and severity of wounding in bachelor groups have perpetuated...
Fish are widely used in scientific research, and many species are bred for ornamental purposes and human consumption. Despite the large number of fish kept in captivity, research on the welfare of these animals has...
Little research has been carried out into how guinea pigs are cared for in the UK, and information regarding potential welfare issues is sparse. This study was designed to examine the five welfare needs, collecting...
Previous research has shown that competition, familiarity, diet, and relatedness can all influence aggregation patterns in garter snakes. We controlled for these factors and examined social aggregation patterns in juvenile Eastern garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis...
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 authors’ experience with the housing, social housing, husbandry, handling, and environmental enrichment of chinchillas in laboratories.
Dominance hierarchies can reduce conflict within social groups and agonistic signals can help to establish and maintain these hierarchies. Behaviours produced by subordinates in response to aggression are often assumed to function as signals of...
Available literature indicates that fish are able to recognize familiar conspecifics and that familiarity may offer important benefits (e.g. more stable social environment, improved foraging behavior, growth, survival). In the practice of intensive rearing of...
This open access book is a printed edition of the Special Issue on Welfare of Cultured and Experimental Fishes that was published in the journal Fishes. The PDF is free for download.
The effects of social hierarchies (dominant/subordinate individuals), such as aggressiveness, feeding order, and territoriality, are some of the characteristics used for describing fish behaviour. Social hierarchy patterns are still poorly understood in European-reared sea bass...
"When you keep adult Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) males, adult Cynomolgus (Macaca fascicularis) males or adult Vervet males (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), in the same enclosure, is it advisable to have the canines of the males blunted...
Changes in aquatic environments can affect fish behavior. Water renewal, for example, can dilute chemical signals, which are a social communication tool used by some fish species, and this dilution increases aggressive interactions in the...
Guinea pigs are a commonly used model for tuberculosis vaccine research. Loss of body weight is the most frequently described humane endpoint for animals used in these studies. During a chronic study, we noted labored...
The act of grooming has been found to greatly decrease stress, heart rate, and cortisol levels in nonhuman primates; this decrease in stress and cortisol is seen in the animal being groomed, as well as...
Social-rearing environment has profound effects on behaviour, physiology and development. A complex social environment enhances an individual's social skills and competence in many animal taxa. Consequently, complete social deprivation seriously impairs various aspects of behaviour...
Animal personalities are ubiquitous across the animal kingdom and have been shown both to influence individual behaviour in the social context and to be affected by it. However, little attention has been paid to possible...
Many fish spend a large part of their life in groups. The size of the group influences potential costs and benefits of group living, and depending on context a fish may prefer different group sizes...
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of density on growth rate, agonistic behaviour, activity and use of space by hatchling C. porosus in captivity. Hatchling C. porosus were raised in identical...
There are few studies investigating captive conditions for commonly kept public aquaria species. Here the thornback ray (Raja clavata) was used to determine preferred captive conditions via choice tests and behavioural observations. Substrate type, substrate...
Guinea pig pups produce typical distress whistles when isolated. Whistles’ frequency is decreased or abolished when they contact with the mother and, to a lesser degree, a sibling or even an unfamiliar female, is regained...
In variable environments, animals can learn to alter their behavior to adjust to changes. Sometimes, however, this learning ability can be impaired. For example, challenges in the social or physical environment can trigger physiological responses...

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