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. 
In a captive environment, it is challenging to ensure the highest level of social and psychological well-being for species with naturally complex social organizations and structures. There is a growing need to meet the social...
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...
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...
Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...
Physiotherapy can be used to treat an animal following surgery, to help correcting abnormal gait and for treating tendon, bone or ligament damage. […] Of course, an animal can’t just be given a set of...
The question of 'if and how captive primates are affected by visitors' has gained increasing attention over the last decades. Although the majority reported undesirable effects on behavior and wellbeing, many studies reported contradicting results...
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...
The Association of Primate Veterinarians (APV) recognizes that several forms of restraint, including physical and chemical, are necessary for the safe handling of nonhuman primates (NHPs). The following guidelines aim to provide information to researchers...
Specifically designed restraint chairs are the preferred method of restraint for research studies that require NHP to sit in place for sustained periods of time. In light of increasing emphasis on refinement of restraint to...
The study of laboratory animal behavior has increased steadily over the last decade, with expanding emphasis on a variety of commonly used species. In the United States, this trend was initially focused on species for...
Captivity often limits a primate’s ability to make meaningful choices on a daily basis. Effective captive (behavioral) management programs should provide primates with opportunities to make meaningful choices. In the present study, arthritic chimpanzees were...
Biotelemetry can contribute towards reducing animal numbers and suffering in disciplines including physiology, pharmacology and behavioural research. However, the technique can also cause harm to animals, making biotelemetry a ‘refinement that needs refining’. Current welfare...
In captive animal facilities, human staff members are a relevant part of the animals’ social environment in addition to providing care and managing the social group. Structured, predictable interactions and relaxed, spontaneous contacts may all...
Animal care for nonhuman primates (NHPs) in biomedical facilities has undergone major changes in the past few decades. Today, most primate facilities have dedicated and highly trained animal care technicians who go to great efforts...
The discussion was started by the following questions: "Is the squeeze-back mechanism more or less stressful than the pole and collar system for removing a macaque from his cage for an IM (intramuscular) injection?" and...
The “visitor effect” problem, whether zoo visitors are stressful or enriching to zoo animals, is made difficult to analyze by numerous methodological challenges. The extremes in visitor attendance patterns during the holiday season at Disney’s...
New World monkeys represent an important but often poorly understood research resource. The relatively small size and low zoonotic risk of these animals make them appealing as research subjects in a number of areas. However...
This article provides a brief historical background of the events and circumstances that led to the 1985 Animal Welfare Act (AWA) amendments. It describes the development of the regulations promulgated by the US Department of...
Twenty-six reports provide detailed information of how primates can be trained to voluntarily cooperate - rather than resist - during blood collection, injection, topical drug application, blood pressure measurement, urine collection, and capture.
Published information provides scientific evidence that traditional, involuntary restraint techniques of research non-human primates are intrinsically a source of distress resulting from fear. It has been documented that common methods of enforced restraint result in...
With some professional expertise and goodwill, there should be no real need to resort to forceful restraint when doing research with nonhuman primates.
The social environment [which includes the care providers] is perhaps the most critical factor in chimpanzee well-being, more important even than designs of the living space.
The purpose of this study was to observe as many gorilla groups as possible and to compare their behaviour in different exhibits, social structures and visitor situation. Gorillas were studied in 15 zoos, they lived...

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