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...
The study here presented provides preliminary data regarding social compatibility of an all-male group of five chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), assessed by means of a social network analysis (SNA). The study was conducted at the Fundació...
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...
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...
Despite no significant difference in wounding between bachelor and mixed-sex groups of western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in zoological settings, anecdotal concerns around the frequency and severity of wounding in bachelor groups have perpetuated...
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...
When primates groom each other, they tend to concentrate on those parts of the body they cannot efficiently self-groom (i.e., not visually accessible), and prefer to intensify grooming in areas with high hair density, thus...
The long-term effects of early life adversities on social capacities have been documented in humans and wild-caught former laboratory chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). However, former pet and entertainment chimpanzees have received little attention to date. This...
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)...
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...
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...
Social grooming is often exchanged between individuals in many primate species. Rates of bidirectional (or simultaneous mutual) grooming vary across primate species, and its function is not yet fully understood. For example, mutual grooming is...
This article describes the authors’ experience with the housing, social housing, husbandry, handling, and environmental enrichment of chinchillas in laboratories.
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...
The National Institutes of Health and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums recommend that captive chimpanzees be housed in multi‐male, multi‐female, age‐diverse groups of no less than seven individuals. These recommendations are rooted in the...
Stereotypies are frequently associated with sub-optimal captive environments and are used as welfare indicators. However, susceptibility to stereotypy can vary across individuals of the same group. As such, identifying which individuals are more susceptible to...
Dairy calves are often housed in individual pens, which limits play behaviour. This study investigates whether the motivation for social play builds up during periods of deprivation hereof. Sixteen mixed-sex pairs of calves (33 ±...

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