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. 

Animal welfare is important for the humane treatment of animals under our care. Zoos and rescue centres manage various charismatic animals, such as big cats, with limited resources. It is therefore essential for caretakers to...

Socially flexible species might be at an advantage when facing environmental unpredictability, human-induced rapid environmental changes, or unnatural conditions such as encountered in captivity. The European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) was originally described as solitarily...

Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) is a rare mammal appearing in South and Southeast Asia, first described in 1777. Because of the detrimental effects of stress, studying stress responses is important for this wildlife conservation...

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...

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 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)...

Temperament assessment is useful in reintroduction programs. Reactivity to humans and flight ability are also important behavioral aspects for captive parrots candidates to reintroduction. The study aimed: a) to evaluate if behavioral responses to environmental...

Little research has been carried out into how guinea pigs are cared for in the UK, and information regarding potential welfare issues is sparse. This study was designed to examine the five welfare needs, collecting...

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...

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...

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...

The captive environment can limit some important behavioral options for nonhuman animals, which often results in decreased welfare. The companion of a conspecific can be a source of complexity in captivity, but this aspect has...

Elephants have complex social systems that are predominantly driven by ecological factors in situ. Within zoos, elephants are held in relatively static social groups and the factors observed driving social relationships in the wild are...

Individual animal personalities affect experiences of zoo environments, and thus potentially welfare. Incorporating keeper knowledge of animal personality in a reliable way has great value in optimising welfare in zoo-housed animals. Assessment of animal personality...

Zoos play a vital role in managing and conserving a wide range of threatened species and in enhancing their populations in natural habitats through captive breeding and reintroduction programmes. Most small felids are poor breeders...

A recent large-scale welfare study in North America involving 106 Asian (Elephas maximus) and 131 African (Loxodonta africana) elephants at 64 accredited facilities identified links (i.e., risk factors) between zoo environmental factors and a number...

The Andean bear alopecia syndrome is a progressive and chronic condition documented in ex situ populations. Recent advances focus on treating symptoms, not preventing future cases. We therefore explored the epidemiology of this syndrome through...

Personality, defined as consistent between-individual variation in clusters of behavioral traits independent of factors such as age or sex, emerges in most animal species tested so far. The number of invertebrate species discovered to have...

Stereotypic behavior in zoo elephants is considered an indicator of impaired welfare. The underlying causes are diverse and many aspects are still unexplored. Nevertheless, many zoological institutions take huge efforts to improve the well-being of...

As the number of Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) in captivity increases, an understanding of captive social dynamics and behavior is becoming increasingly important. In the wild, devils are solitary, although sometimes, they congregate to feed...

"When you keep adult Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) males, adult Cynomolgus (Macaca fascicularis) males or adult Vervet males (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), in the same enclosure, is it advisable to have the canines of the males blunted...

Nest building is an advanced and complex activity that wild orangutans engage in, yet they do so on a daily basis and with potential safety consequences. Like their wild counterparts, zoo-housed orangutans also make nests...

Compared to other megafauna managed in zoos and aquariums, the current state of welfare for the Nile hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) is poorly understood. Complex behavior and physiological characteristics make hippos a difficult species to manage...

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