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. 

Social housing for dairy calves has a range of benefits for social development, yet there is limited understanding of how social bonds form early in life. We characterized effects of early life social contact on...

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...

The present study examined the effects of age at group housing and age at incremental hay supplementation in calf starters from 7.5 to 15% (dry matter, DM) and their interaction on growth performance, behavior, health...

While recent work has assessed how environmental and managerial changes influence elephant welfare across multiple zoos, few studies have addressed the effects of management changes within a single institution. In this paper, we examine how...

Housing management of dairy calves is one of the factors that contributes to a successful rearing outcome. Individual housing of pre-weaned calves is thought to provide enhanced biosecurity and easier monitoring of the individual, 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...

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...

The introduction of elephants into new groups is necessary for breeding programmes. However, behavioural studies on the reactions of these animals at first encounters are missing. In the present study, female African elephants (Loxodonta africana)...

Responses to stress are unavoidable, adaptive mechanisms in humans and non-human animals. However, in humans, chronic stress has been linked to poor health outcomes and early mortality. Allostatic load, the physiologic dysregulation that occurs when...

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...

The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a solitary and naturally territorial animal, with female hamsters being more aggressive than males. This behavior makes handling difficult because they are usually housed in groups, which can lead...

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...

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of pair versus individual housing on performance, health, and behavior of dairy calves. Thirty female Holstein dairy calves were assigned to individual (n = 10)...

The welfare status of elephants under human care has been a contentious issue for two decades or more in numerous western countries. Much effort has gone into assessing the welfare of captive elephants at individual...

Calves reared on pasture learn to graze from their dam and conspecifics during weaning. Social learning can be beneficial for calf performance and welfare, and pair-housing and companionship on pasture have been proposed as management...

The quality of the social environment should be studied as one of the welfare components of dairy herds. Licking and preference between cows are important socio-positive experiences in this context.The aims of this study were...

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...

Modern zoos strive to improve standards of animal management, husbandry and welfare of their animals as part of a continual evaluation process. Elephants (Elephantidae) have received particular attention in recent years due to the challenge...

Ensuring good health and welfare is an increasingly important consideration for conservation of endangered species and includes breeding of individuals managed under human care. Understanding how factors in the captive environment affect individual animal wellbeing...

Our social relationships determine our health and well-being. In rodent models, there is now strong support for the rewarding properties of aggressive or assertive behaviors to be critical for the expression and development of adaptive...

For gregarious species such as domestic cattle, the social environment is a very important determinant of their welfare and fitness. Understanding the complexity of cows' relationships can assist the development of management practices that are...

According to international housing recommendations, fattening bulls should not be housed in groups of more than 12–20 animals. However, there are no scientific studies supporting these recommendations as most studies on fattening cattle refer to...

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