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. 

A common goal of captive animal institutions is to create environments that allow for the most naturalistic behavior from their animals. Behavioral data is often used as a measure of how an animal is thriving...

As pets are considered members of the family, their health has received widespread attention. Since pets cannot talk and complain when they feel uncomfortable, monitoring vital signs becomes very helpful in disease detection, as well...

Elizabethan collars are used in companion animals primarily to prevent self-trauma and associated negative welfare states in animals. However, they have been anecdotally associated with negative impacts on animal health and welfare including distress, abraded/ulcerated...

GPS collars have revolutionized the field of animal ecology, providing detailed information on animal movement and the habitats necessary for species survival. GPS collars also have the potential to cause adverse effects ranging from mild...

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...

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...

Temperament can be defined as interindividual differences in behavior that are stable over time and in different contexts. The terms ‘personality’, ‘coping styles’, and ‘behavioral syndromes’ have also been used to describe these interindividual differences...

The time that penguins devote to aquatic behaviors likely has important implications for their welfare in zoos and aquariums. For decades, field researchers have used time-depth recorders (TDRs) to understand the behavior of penguins at...

Introducing a new cat into a household with one or more resident cats can be a significant source of stress for the cats involved. These studies sought to determine if rabbit maternal-neonatal pheromone (2-methyl-2-butenal [2M2B])...

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...

A cohort of captive-bred red-eared slider turtles, Trachemys scripta, was received from a commercial vendor. Shortly after arrival, several turtles presented as lethargic with subjectively pale skin and multifocal areas of cotton-like tufts in the...

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...

Aggression in chickens is a serious economic and animal welfare issue in poultry farming. Pigmentation traits have been documented to be associated with animal behaviour. Chicken pecking behaviour has been found to be related to...

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...

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...

Automated monitoring of behaviour can offer a wealth of information in circumstances where observing behaviour is difficult or time consuming. However, this often requires attaching monitoring devices to the animal which can alter behaviour, potentially...

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...

Although Syrian hamsters are thought to be naturally solitary, recent evidence from our laboratory demonstrates that hamsters may actually prefer social contact. Hamsters increase their preference for a location associated with an agonistic encounter regardless...

Understanding individual responses to stress is a key aspect of maintaining optimal animal welfare. This is especially important where animals are being kept in sub-optimal environments or where the species may not clearly demonstrate stress...

Animals are often synchronised in their behaviour, with costs and benefits varying according to group size and the behaviour being performed. Making decisions about optimal allocation and distribution of resources to animals in our care...

In June 2006 a loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) was admitted to a rescue centre on the Mediterranean coast with severe fishing net entanglement in its fore right flipper. The flipper could not be saved...

Poultry transport systems are currently under investigation with a particular focus on design and dimensions of commercially available transport crates. The height of the crates currently used is debated and considered by some parties to...

The study of laboratory animal behavior has increased steadily over the last decade, with expanding emphasis on a variety of commonly used species. In the United States, this trend was initially focused on species for...

Biotelemetry can contribute towards reducing animal numbers and suffering in disciplines including physiology, pharmacology and behavioural research. However, the technique can also cause harm to animals, making biotelemetry a ‘refinement that needs refining’. Current welfare...

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