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. 
Tricaine, or MS-222, is the most commonly used chemical anesthetic in zebrafish research. It is thought to act via blocking voltage-gated sodium channels, though its mechanism of action, particularly at the neuronal level, is not...
Zebrafish are frequently used as a means to investigate development. These studies increasingly require repeated anaesthesia of zebrafish during juvenile (i.e. metamorphic) stages. The effects of anaesthesia during this time remain poorly studied. The aim...
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 concept of the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement) has been used as a framework for improving the welfare of laboratory animals for the last half century. By establishing an animal-centric view on housing and...
The study of human–animal interactions has provided insights into the welfare of many species. To date, however, research has largely focused on human relationships with captive mammals, with relatively little exploration of interactions between humans...
In aquaculture, to ensure animal welfare in pre-slaughter and slaughter stages, it is fundamental that fish are insensible. A method for evaluating fish insensibility is based on visual sensibility indicators (VSI) assessment (i.e., self-initiated behavior...
The use of proper anesthesia in zebrafish research is essential to ensure fish welfare and data reliability. However, anesthesia long-term side effects remain poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to assess anesthesia quality...
Positive reinforcement training (PRT) is associated with increases in species-typical behavior and decreases in stereotypic and abnormal behavior in participating animals. Physiological changes following PRT, for example, increases in oxytocin (OXT) and/or decreases in cortisol...
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...
Guinea pigs are often involved in animal-assisted therapy (AAT) but there is little knowledge about the effects of human contact on guinea pigs involved in AAT. The aim of this study was to investigate effects...
The aim of this study was to develop and test a tilapia on-farm welfare assessment protocol, based on Brazilian semi-intensive production systems. The study included two mains steps: the elaboration of tilapia welfare protocol and...
The purpose of this study was to compare the safety and efficacy of buffered tricaine methanesulfonate (MS-222) and isoeugenol for the anesthesia of zebrafish undergoing caudal fin clipping. Eighty 9 mo Danio rerio (AB strain)...
Recent scientific evidence for fish sentience has stressed the need for novel sentience-based detection tools of fish welfare impairment in commercial farms. In order to mimic a well-characterised stress situation, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were...
Zoological institutions often encourage cooperative interactions between keepers and animals so as to promote animals' welfare. One useful technique has been conditioning training, whereby animals learn to respond to keepers' requests, which facilitates a number...
Interactions between zoo professionals and animals occur regularly and are believed to be enriching for animals. Little empirical information exists on how animals perceive these interactions, and particularly how the interactions affect the emotional states...
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...
Since the use of the zebrafish Danio rerio genetic model organism within the scientific research community continues to grow rapidly, continued procedural refinement to support high-quality, reproducible research and improve animal welfare remains an important...
Adopting a social science perspective and qualitative methodology on the problem of laboratory fish welfare, this paper examines some underlying social factors and drivers that influence thinking, priorities and implementation of fish welfare initiatives and...
Animals come in a huge array of types, species and structures, but without realizing it, we have focused our care on those like us, mammals. They look something like us, so it's easy to empathize...
Fish are a useful animal model for research, but our improvement in some aspects of their welfare has not kept pace with their increased popularity for this use. For example, researchers rarely use analgesics. We...
Anaesthetic drugs are commonly administered to fish in aquaculture, research and veterinary contexts. Anaesthesia causes temporary absence of consciousness and may reduce the stress and/or pain associated with handling and certain invasive procedures. The rainbow...
Rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss were infiltrated with either saline or lidocaine adjacent to the dorsal fin to assess histopathological changes. Infiltration was done as if it were being used as a local anaesthetic. Tissue lesions...

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