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. 

Abnormal behaviour in captive animals is both pervasive and ambiguous. Although individual differences are central to the field of animal welfare, studies on abnormal behaviour predominantly employ quantitative, population-level approaches. For example, whereas previous studies...

Wild robust capuchins (Sapajus spp.) are omnivorous neotropical primates that live in relatively large groups in extensive home and daily ranges with activity budgets dominated by traveling, foraging, and object manipulation, meaning that enclosed spaces...

Changes in skin mucus production and composition offer a new means to study how fish cope with changes in the environment. We explored the utility of skin mucus as an indicator of physiological responses and...

Early-life experiences may considerably affect the behavioural patterns of adult primates. Particularly, atypical rearing practices might lead to abnormal behaviours and social-sexual deficiencies in captive, adult non-human primates. We conducted behavioural observations of mother-reared (n...

Despite how frequently stereotypic behaviours are discussed in the field of animal behaviour and welfare, research on stereotypies in captive elasmobranchs is far less represented in the literature compared to studies on mammalian species. This...

Among the growing list of novel tools with which to assess animal welfare is the use of thermal (infrared) imaging. The technology has already been utilized to identify emotional arousal in several nonhuman primate species...

Respirometry has become the standard method for measuring the metabolic rate of fishes. Traditionally, respirometry has required the fish to be kept in captivity and tested under controlled conditions; however, many species do not readily...

Fur-chewing is a common problem in chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera). It may affect the welfare of animals due to heat loss, thereby possibly impacting food and water intake to maintain body temperature. In this context, infrared...

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...

Assessing and treating cardiovascular disease (or heart disease) is a growing concern for institutions housing great apes, as it is a major cause of mortality in all four taxa managed in human care. As part...

European sea bass is a marine teleost which can inhabit a broad range of environmental salinities. So far, no research has studied the physiological response of this fish to salinity challenges using modifications in skin...

Stereotypies are frequently associated with sub-optimal captive environments and are used as welfare indicators. However, susceptibility to stereotypy can vary across individuals of the same group. As such, identifying which individuals are more susceptible to...

Cortisol levels in fish skin mucus have shown to be good stress indicators in farm fish exposed to different stressors. Its applicability in free-ranging animals subject to long-term environmental stressors though remains to be explored...

The unique challenges faced by animals living in zoos can lead to the production of anxiety-related behaviours. In this study we aimed to understand what specific factors may cause chimpanzees to display these behaviours. In...

Chimpanzees demand specialized housing and care and the highest degree of attention to animal welfare. The current project used a survey method to collate information on chimpanzee housing and behavioral indices of welfare across all...

Stress in teleosts is an increasingly studied topic because of its interaction with growth, reproduction, immune system and ultimately fitness of the animal. Whether it is for evaluating welfare in aquaculture, adaptive capacities in fish...

In this review, we focus primarily on the refinement of common methods used in fish research based on emerging knowledge with the aim of improving the welfare of fish used in scientific studies. We consider...

The number of fish used in research has increased in the last decades. Anaesthesia is required when fish must be held immobile and it is crucial to promote fish welfare, because these vertebrates can show...

Large numbers of lumpfish are produced for the Norwegian salmon industry and are used to combat sea lice infestations. Periodically high mortality of farmed lumpfish demonstrates the need to improve farming conditions and animal welfare...

The suitability of a traditional testing paradigm (e.g. choice chamber) for assessing chemosensory behaviour in the Pacific hagfish, Eptatretus stoutii, was examined. Actively-swimming hagfish, tested at night, showed no preference for any region of a...

When primates exhibit hair loss and are observed to engage in self or social hair plucking (a rapid jerking away of the hair shaft and follicle by the hand or mouth, often accompanied by inspection...

Abnormal behavior occurs in a number of captive nonhuman primate species and is often used as an indicator of welfare. However, reported levels of abnormal behavior often vary across species, making general welfare judgments difficult...

For humans and for non-human primates heart rate is a reliable indicator of an individual’s current physiological state, with applications ranging from health checks to experimental studies of cognitive and emotional state. In humans, changes...

Local anesthetics are an integral part of routine pain management in mammals, yet their use is relatively limited in fish, amphibians and reptiles. These animals frequently undergo potentially painful surgical procedures and therefore could possibly...

Effective and safe anesthetic protocols are required for a variety of surgical and diagnostic procedures in chinchillas. Alfaxalone, a new anesthetic agent in the United States, can be administered intramuscularly and subcutaneously and is therefore...

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