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. 

The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is widely used as a promising translational model organism for studying various brain disorders. Zebrafish are also commonly used in behavioral and drug screening assays utilizing individually tested (socially isolated) fish...

Shelters are frequently used for fish rearing to improve welfare conditions. In this study, whether Nile tilapia prefers specific shelter colors was evaluated. Thus, fish preference for white, red, blue, green or yellow shelters was...

Captive welfare studies in odontocete species have been mostly conducted on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) while the welfare of many other species’ -including endangered species- remains poorly studied. More research is needed to find and...

Despite the increasing popularity of zebrafish (Danio rerio) as an animal model, the environmental enrichment preferences of this species have been largely unexplored. We sought to determine the preferences of mature female zebrafish that were...

Environmental enrichment is considered as a recommended tool to guarantee or improve the welfare of captive fish. This study demonstrates for the first time that structural environmental enrichment enhances cognition, exploratory behaviour and brain physiological...

Zebrafish has become an animal model in research and articles have established ideal conditions for their maintenance. However, little is known regarding the influence of gender and other cues on zebrafish behavior. Thus, here we...

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...

Environmental enrichment is a key component in improving the psychological and physiological well-being of animals under professional care. Environmental enrichment involves the addition of stimuli, including objects and cognitive challenges, into the environment in order...

Cognitive enrichment aims to provide animals with opportunities to use their cognitive skills and to promote behaviors associated with positive wellbeing. Cooperation in mammals has been recorded during various behavioral contexts such as hunting, mating...

Fish models are essential for research in many biological and medical disciplines. With a typical lifespan of only 6 months, the turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) was recently established as a time- and cost-efficient model to...

Environmental enrichment, or the enhancement of an animal’s surroundings when in captivity to maximise its wellbeing, has been increasingly applied to fish species, particularly those used commercially. Laboratory species could also benefit from enrichment, but...

In the past few decades, there has been an increase in the number of zoo-based touchscreen studies of animal cognition around the world. Such studies have contributed to the field of comparative cognition despite the...

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.

We compared preferences shown by zebrafish (Danio rerio) and three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) for shelter provided by above-tank shade and artificial plants. Zebrafish showed no preference for either shelter, whereas sticklebacks showed a preference for...

Stereotypies in captive animals are typically defined as repetitive, invariant behavioral patterns with no obvious goal or function. They are often attributed to boredom or fear and treated by introducing occupational stimuli. The present work...

The effects of structural enrichment in the hatchery rearing environment of brown trout Salmo trutta was linked to post-release performance. Enrichment resulted in reduced swimming activity scored in an open field test and reduced movement...

There is empirical support for the efficacy of enrichment in decreasing stereotypical behaviors and increasing naturalistic behaviors in laboratory, agricultural, and zoological settings. However, little research has been done on the possible value of enrichment...

Body tactile stimulation has a positive effect upon highly social animals, such as mammals and cleaner-client coral-reef fish, by relieving stress and improving health. Conversely, some tactile contacts are naturally detrimental, such as those resulted...

Environmental enrichment is a promising way to increase the fitness and survival of fish released for stock enhancement and biological conservation programs. However, the effects of enrichment in different studies on the fish behavior, physiology...

Captive-reared fish often have poor survival in the wild and may fail to boost threatened populations. Enrichment during the nursery period can in some circumstances generate a broader behavioural repertoire than conventional hatchery production. Yet...

Harbor seals in the wild live in a stimulating environment; therefore, nonhuman-animal caretakers have increasingly been using environmental enrichment to improve the well being of seals under human care. The purpose of this study was...

Environmental enrichment is used extensively to improve the welfare of animals in captivity, however, the importance of physical exercise as enrichment is only now coming to light. A key question in assessing the welfare of...

Environmental enrichment involves increasing the complexity of a fish's environment in order to improve welfare. Researchers are legally obliged to consider the welfare of laboratory animals and poor welfare may result in less robust data...

The relative movement of juvenile steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss reared on two treatments was investigated to provide insight on the effect of structure in the rearing environment on the behaviour of the fish before potential release...

Environmental enrichment is a crucial element of promoting welfare for animals in captivity. However, enrichment programs are not always formally evaluated for their efficacy. Furthermore, there is little empirical evidence of enrichment evaluation for species...

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