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. 
Accelerometers offer unique opportunities to study the behaviour of cryptic animals but require validation to show their accuracy in identifying behaviours. This validation is often undertaken in captivity before use in the wild. While zoos...
Naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber) are a unique rodent species originating in Africa and are increasingly being used in research. Their needs and characteristics differ from those of other rodents used in research. Unique housing...
Since they arrived at CU Boulder, we have learned a lot about the voles from the laboratory, other institutions, and our trial-and-error. We hope this information can be helpful to any considering adding voles to...
Naked mole-rats (NMRs) have unique husbandry requirements that need to be considered when maintaining them in captivity. We have successfully maintained NMRs at the University of Illinois at Chicago for more than 20 years. This...
Naked Mole-rats have been studied in laboratories for decades due to their unique behavior and physiology. They are one of a few species of mammals that maintain a hive social structure, are highly resistant to...
Naked Mole-rats are relative newcomers in the research world. Due to the complexity of their natural subterranean tunneling system, it has been difficult to replicate in the laboratory environment. Housing standards often differ from the...
It is often stressful for cats to be placed in cages in a shelter and environmental enrichment (EE) of the caging is one mechanism for mitigating this stress. The behavioural style of 72 cats was...
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...
Although most chameleon species can be challenging captives, C. calyptratus have been successfully kept and bred in captivity for over thirty years. Despite their relative familiarity, our challenge is to replicate their preferred habitats in...
Behavior is one of the most observable and informative indicators of animal welfare. This study used behavioral observation methodologies to evaluate the impact of an enclosure expansion on the activity budgets of a group of...
Many articles have shown the benefits of operant conditioning training techniques in the care and welfare of several species of nonhuman primates; however, the information regarding their use in strepsirrhine species is scarce. We assessed...
Dogs and cats housed in research-, kennel- and cattery-type settings are reliant on caregivers to optimise their day-to-day experiences and welfare. The goal is to provide enriching environments for physical, social and environmental control; behavioural...
While non-human primate studies have long been conducted in laboratories, and more recently at zoological parks, sanctuaries are increasingly considered a viable setting for research. Accredited sanctuaries in non-range countries house thousands of primates formerly...
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 care of central bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) as well as Pygmy bearded dragons (Pogona henrylawsoni). It includes information on housing, feeding, handling and sexing technique, as well as the general health...
Capybaras, also known as “water pigs,” are the world’s largest rodent. Although these animals are closely related to guinea pigs, with a shoulder height of approximately 2 ft, coarse brown fur, and partially webbed feet...
The naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a rodent that has gained importance as a biomedical research model for various conditions including hypoxic brain injury, cancer and nociception. It is captured from the wild and...
Training nonhuman primates (NHPs) to perform cognitive tasks is essential for many neuroscientific investigations, yet laboratory training is a time-consuming process with inherent limitations. Habituating NHPs to the laboratory staff and experimental equipment can take...
Reptiles are often used as model species in scientific research and are popular in the pet trade, yet how they cope with captive conditions has not been well studied. Stress caused by captivity could affect...
Many animals use their excrements to communicate with others. In order to increase signal efficacy, animals often behaviourally select for specific defecation sites that maximize the detectability of their faecal deposits, such as the tip...
In the lab, social housing of cats is a challenge due to the proximity of conspecifics made necessary by the relatively small size of typical standard caging. Handling is a challenge, as human injury due...
While staying in an animal shelter, cats may suffer from chronic stress which impairs their health and welfare. Providing opportunities to hide can significantly reduce behavioural stress in cats, but confirmation with physical parameters is...
The effect of providing additional floor space on cat behavior and welfare is not well documented. This study involved replication of an investigation of cats’ responses to enhanced cage and room environments using cages of...
Few studies have sought to describe cat elimination behavior in detail and much of the information presently available focuses on factors that potentially cause cats to reject a litter box. Thus, the ethograms published in...
The lack of appropriate stimuli associated with captive environments has been documented to cause several behavioural and physiological issues in captive species, including loss of natural behaviours, psychopathologies and decreased reproductive success. Providing free-ranging, naturalistic...

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