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. 

Research into cat behavior has gained more attention in recent years. As one of the world’s most popular companion animals, work in this field has potential to have wide-reaching benefits. Cats living in shelters are...

It is widely acknowledged that environmental enrichment can improve animals’ welfare and emotional state. This study used cognitive bias and response to a novel object to assess the effect of enriched housing on emotional state...

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.

Reading books to shelter animals combining auditory enrichment with human presence is increasingly used although its effects on animal welfare have not yet been investigated. This study compared the behaviour of single-housed shelter dogs and...

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...

This DIY snack is great for NHP and can be customized in a variety of ways.

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...

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...

Dogs and cats housed in research-, kennel- and cattery-type settings are reliant on caregivers to optimise their day-to-day experiences and welfare. The goal is to provide enriching environments for physical, social and environmental control; behavioural...

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...

Environmental enrichment is a common tool used in zoo and aquarium settings to provide mental and physical stimulation to animals under human care. This paper aims to present a primary approach to goal-oriented environmental and...

Xenopus laevis frogs have long been widely used as an animal model in research. However, their husbandry has scarcely evolved, although they are prone to environmental stress. Environmental enrichment has been shown to improve animal...

This article describes the ingredients, supplies, and directions to make this DIY hanging item, which is great for NHP and swine.

This article describes the ingredients and directions to make this simple DIY destructible enrichment for NHP and swine.

This article with photos describes how to make a cat ball toy using empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls.

Much environmental enrichment for laboratory animals is intended to enhance animal welfare and normalcy by providing stimulation to reduce 'boredom'. Behavioural manifestations of boredom include restless sensation-seeking behaviours combined with indicators of sub-optimal arousal. Here...

Shelters are important for animal survival. Provision of adequate hiding places allow animals to express their natural sheltering behavior and it can have different positive effects on cortisol levels, physiological processes and mental performance. Although...

At the Royal Veterinary College, we have carried out an investigation to look at various types of enrichment for our ferrets. This article gives examples of successful enrichment ideas, including: tunnels inside the cage, tunnels...

This poster looks at the processes in place starting with the arrival of the ferrets from the Schedule 2 supplier, through the acclimatisation period and the influenza infection procedure until reaching the end point of...

Failing to provide hamsters with a method to wear down their teeth can lead to detrimental behaviour such as bar chewing, and health issues, for example, overgrown teeth and tooth loss. However, hamsters use their...

Preferences for scratchers in adult cats have not yet been explored. Thirty-six adult cats were the subjects in three experiments to evaluate adult cat in-home preferences for scratchers, scratching materials, and the use of scratchers...

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