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. 
There is increasing recognition that farm animal welfare standards should ensure positive welfare, as well as prevent negative welfare. Resources that are valued by an animal and that provide opportunities to engage in motivated behaviours...
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...
A shelter is a good habitat for aquatic organisms, which could aid in avoiding cannibalism and facilitate predation. Chinese Mitten Crab (Eriocheir sinensis) is an important aquaculture species with troglodytism and nocturnal habit. To clarify...
Our objectives were to evaluate the effect of stationary brush quantity on brush use and competition in weaned dairy heifers naïve to brushes. Sixty-three Holstein heifers (95 ± 5.7 days old) were housed in groups...
In mammals, positive tactile contact is recognized as an effective tool for triggering positive affective states. In this study, we investigated the benefits of providing automatic rotative brushes for group-housed horses. Our three aims were...
Housing unweaned calves individually in barren environments negatively affects their growth, cognitive ability, and adaptability to environmental changes in later life. Social housing has been shown to improve those aspects, whereas physical environmental enrichment has...
General anesthesia as used for rodent research can have adverse effects on physiologic mechanisms. Thermoregulation is often greatly inhibited, with resultant deleterious effects on cardiac and respiratory function. These potential effects can be mitigated by...
Members of the North American 3Rs Collaborative (NA3RsC) refinement initiative have chosen to summarize developments in five hot topics of interest: 1. Tips for welfare-friendly transport, chairing, and restraint; 2. Guidance on refining food and...
Providing novel and creative enrichments for nonhuman primates improves their mental wellbeing and is thus an important aspect of all husbandry programs. These enrichments are often presented through variations in diet, toys, and environmental features...
This traditional snack has a variety of options for NHP enrichment. From fruit to cereals, get creative with the “ants” and remember to consider different fillings for the celery log.
Apart from species-typical foraging behavior, a large body of the literature addresses enriching captive marmoset environments through structural and housing adaptations to promote activity and exploration. These studies simulate vertical elements and climbing substrates in...
This great cool-down snack is ideal for group or singly housed swine or nonhuman primates (particularly in larger pen-style housing). This item can be customized for canines as well by modifying the liquid used and/or...
At the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, NHPs may need to be singly housed for research purposes or veterinary care, and it can be challenging to keep them optimally enriched. This sometimes results in...
As we learn more about the importance of gene-environment interactions and the effects of environmental enrichment, it becomes evident that minimalistic laboratory conditions can affect gene expression patterns and behaviors of model organisms. In the...
To date, Qualitative Behavior Assessment (QBA) has not been used to measure the welfare of pre-partum Zebu heifers treated with practices of positive handling. The study objective was to investigate the effect of brushing as...
Environmental enrichment (EE) can increase the environmental complexity of feedlots by providing mental and physical stimulation. The objectives of the study were to 1) identify hourly patterns of feedlot steer behaviour and 2) evaluate the...
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 objective of this study was to determine the effects of social housing, the provision of physical enrichment, and the interaction between the two on calf growth, behaviour and fearfulness. Forty-eight calves were randomly allocated...
This DIY snack is great for NHP and can be customized in a variety of ways.
This simple DIY training treat is great for NHP, swine, rabbits, rodents, and dogs. Note that dehydrated watermelon may resemble muscle tissue!
There are several items we often use in animal facilities that when finished with are thrown away. However, many of these items come in packaging that can be recycled as enrichment for our animals, particularly...
Playing music or natural sounds to animals in human care is thought to have beneficial effects. An analysis of published papers on the use of human-based music with animals demonstrates a variety of different results...
This study aims to assess calf usage of five potential enrichment devices provided simultaneously. We used 25 weaned Holstein-Friesian calves housed in groups of five (five replicates), and their behavior was recorded continuously with video...
Livestock animals are sentient beings with cognitive and emotional capacities and their brain development, similar to humans and other animal species, is affected by their surrounding environmental conditions. Current intensive production systems, through the restrictions...

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