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. 
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...
In conclusion, the investigations carried out up to now demonstrate that during the early stages fish show high sensitivity to many types of stressors involving an array of responses to overcome alterations that could affect...
Husbandry procedures and facility settings, such as low-frequency fire alarms, can produce noises in a laboratory environment that cause stress to animals used in research. However, most of the data demonstrating harmful effects that have...
The origins of floor-laying in ducks could be low motivation for a nest, or stress related to difficulties with accessing a nest (e.g. competition). Using a behavioural demand test, we investigated if increasing the work...
Horse practitioners have difficulties with undesirable behaviors exhibited by their horses (Equus caballus), such as cribbing, weaving, or head shaking. It has been suggested that most of behavioral disorders originate from the animals’ attempt to...
Most research to enrich the environment of psittacines in captivity has focused on foraging. Little is known about the importance of bathing substrates for enrichment of their environment, despite this being a natural behaviour that...
Bedding materials affect stable air hygiene, and thus the development and exacerbation of equine asthma. There is limited knowledge concerning the effects of different types of bedding material on equine lower airway inflammation. The objective...
This 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...
The horse’s welfare and, consequently, the emotional arousal may be connected with stressful environmental conditions. This study aimed to determine whether horses show behavioural or physiological symptoms of thermal discomfort and if their behaviour and...
Various pharmaceutical products have been derived from horse blood and urine for over a century. Production of biologics and therapeutics from these samples is a niche industry and often occurs in regions with little regulation...
Every animal species has particular environmental requirements that are essential for its welfare, and when these so-called “basic needs” are not fulfilled, the animals suffer. The basic needs of horses have been claimed to be...
The satisfaction of leisure horses’ behavioral needs has begun to be considered a priority, linked to the awareness that horses kept in single boxes may be deprived of social contact and the possibility to perform...
Enrichment is widely used as a tool for studying how changes in environment affect animal behavior. Here, we report an experimental study investigating if behaviors shaped by stimuli from environmental enrichment depending on the stage...
This simple DIY training treat is great for NHP, swine, rabbits, rodents, and dogs. Note that dehydrated watermelon may resemble muscle tissue!
Although most chameleon species can be challenging captives, C. calyptratus have been successfully kept and bred in captivity for over thirty years. Despite their relative familiarity, our challenge is to replicate their preferred habitats in...
One of our colony’s five guinea pigs started to develop a moderate case of pododermatitis (bumblefoot) on one paw, which staff were keen to alleviate to prevent any detrimental effects that this might have on...
There are a multitude of health monitoring techniques/ methods available. It can be difficult to know which of these to use and when to use them. This is an attempt to simplify, maximise the efficacy...
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...
Sleep is crucial to horses’ wellbeing, and their lying time can vary according to such factors as climate, exercise, bedding, and housing. This study aimed to analyze behavior and time spent in lying halls of...
Environments that do not provide animals with appropriate stimuli may affect their welfare and reproduction, for example by precluding them from exhibiting their full behavioural repertoire. In this study, we sought to evaluate the effectiveness...
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...
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...
Growing research effort has shown that physical enrichment (PE) can improve fish welfare and research validity. However, the inclusion of PE does not always result in positive effects and conflicting findings have highlighted the many...
Globally, many zoological collections provide their animals with diets that are chopped into small chunks, yet there is limited empirical research to measure the benefits of this practice. Preparing chopped diets takes considerable amounts of...
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...

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