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. 

Decisions about which foods to use during training and enrichment for captive animals may be based on invalid assumptions about individuals’ preferences. It is important to assess the stability of food preferences given that one-time...

How many of us have had this experience? We go to a conference, we read an article, we watch a video. We understand operant conditioning. We grasp the concepts behind clicker training, target training, and...

Although alpacas are becoming increasingly popular animals, their behaviour towards humans has received little research interest until now. The purpose of our study was to investigate, for the first time, associations between caretaker attitudes and...

In a 2018 AALAS webinar on Sheep and Goat Analgesia, Dr. Susie Vogel, a small ruminant expert, introduced the concept of getting sheep and goats to willingly take medication by putting it in a tasty...

Research with captive wildlife in Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL2) and 3 (ABSL3) facilities is becoming increasingly necessary as emerging and re-emerging diseases involving wildlife have increasing impacts on human, animal, and environmental health. Utilizing...

Positive reinforcement training (PRT) is a component of a comprehensive species-appropriate enrichment program to train specific species behaviors and reduce the stress on animals. Our facility has historically used PRT with nonhuman primates, so we...

Accredited zoos and aquariums continually strive to ensure high levels of animal welfare for the animals under their professional care. Best management practices include conducting research to better understand factors that lead to optimal welfare...

The way an animal uses its habitat can serve as an indicator of habitat appropriateness for the species and individuals. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus and Tursiops aduncus) in accredited zoos and aquariums experience a range...

Cattle are subjected to routine procedures that require restraint and close contact to humans, which are both potentially aversive to the animal. Positive reinforcement training techniques may affect how animals perceive and respond to these...

Dealing with potential stress in species that have high husbandry requirements, such as elephants, is a challenge for zoos. The objective of the present study was to determine whether positive reinforcement training (PRT) and exposure...

Comprehensively explains animal learning theories and current best practices in animal training within zoos. This accessible, up-to-date book on animal training in a zoo/aquaria context provides a unified approach to zoo animal learning, bringing together...

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...

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...

The present study assessed the diurnal variation in salivary cortisol in captive African elephants during routine management (baseline) and in relation to a potential stressor (translocation) to evaluate to what extent acute stress may affect...

Studies on the etiology of behavioral problems often involve interference in the animal's routine or reliance on owners' self-reports like surveys. Gathering data from videos posted on social media, a technique coined ‘video mining’, offers...

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...

On farms, female mink are exposed to acute stressors multiple times due to handling, capturing and transport with restricted movement being a typical part of the mating procedure. We hypothesised that no relocation (group NON...

Twenty-eight bulls weighing 227 ± 6.8 (SD) kg were randomly assigned to four concentrate levels (1-1.5 kg [low level of concentrate {LC}], 1.5-2 kg [medium level of concentrate], 2-2.5 kg [high level of concentrate {HC}]...

A cohort of captive-bred red-eared slider turtles, Trachemys scripta, was received from a commercial vendor. Shortly after arrival, several turtles presented as lethargic with subjectively pale skin and multifocal areas of cotton-like tufts in the...

Preference testing has many benefits, informing both applied management decisions and theoretical questions. We developed a preference‐testing method in which subjects are shown pairs of photographs of food items on a touchscreen in a forced‐choice...

Animal habituation is key to obtain reliable data on behavioural studies but detailed procedures to achieve it are scarce. This study designed a set of actions to habituate sheep and goats to human observers. Pelibuey...

The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if Rhea americana chicks could be trained to walk voluntarily across a scale to be weighed. If the chicks were trainable, the following questions would be...

Poultry transport systems are currently under investigation with a particular focus on design and dimensions of commercially available transport crates. The height of the crates currently used is debated and considered by some parties to...

Behavior and behavior-associated issues are an important part of psittacine medicine. However, many veterinarians have an approach to parrots from the basics of handling and restraint to their assessment of behavioral issues (e.g., feather plucking)...

This is the third volume of discussions that took place on the Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum (LAREF). This forum is dedicated to the exchange of personal experiences of refining the conditions under which...

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