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. 

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 teleost zebrafish (Danio rerio), an established model for human skeletal diseases, is reared under controlled conditions with defined parameters for temperature and photoperiod. Studies aimed at defining the proper rearing density have been performed...

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...

The zebrafish is becoming an increasingly popular research animal around the world. Its welfare is affected by an array of environmental factors, such as food access and water quality. Holding density is an important welfare...

Zebrafish has become an animal model in research and articles have established ideal conditions for their maintenance. However, little is known regarding the influence of gender and other cues on zebrafish behavior. Thus, here we...

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...

Anthropogenic change is expected to alter environments at alarming rates. To predict the impact of modified environments on social behavior, we must study the relationship between environmental features and collective behavior in a genetically tractable...

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...

This open access book is a printed edition of the Special Issue on Welfare of Cultured and Experimental Fishes that was published in the journal Fishes. The PDF is free for download.

Behavioral assays of zebrafish shoaling have recently been employed to investigate social behavior in zebrafish models of psychiatric disease. Many studies have developed simulated models of conspecifics to serve as alternatives to live shoals in...

In fiscal year 2016, agricultural animals such as swine, sheep, goats, and cattle represented 10% of the 820 812 animals used in USDA-regulated research. In addition to traditional agricultural animals, research studies using captive wildlife...

Fishes in captivity, such as those used in laboratory research, may experience handling on a regular basis. In the laboratory, handling is usually done with dip-nets, and involves pursuit, confinement and capture and removal of...

Spiders with around 48,000 recorded species are major terrestrial predators and thus crucially important for ecosystem functioning. They are widely used as research models and for biodiversity displays and sometimes also kept as pets. Nevertheless...

Zebrafish, a highly-social species of freshwater fish, are widely studied across many fields of laboratory science including developmental biology, neuroscience, and genomics. Nevertheless, as standard housing for zebrafish typically consists of small and simplistic environments...

The use of agricultural animals in biomedical research is increasing. Their overall size and metabolic rate, organ size, longer gestation period, and other physiological similarities make them good candidates for animal models of human disease...

Aquatic vertebrates and cephalopods, amphibians, reptiles, and birds offer unique safety and occupational health challenges for laboratory animal personnel. This paper discusses environmental, handling, and zoonotic concerns associated with these species.

Understanding how animals experience stress in a laboratory environment is crucial for improving their welfare. Increasing numbers of fish are being used in scientific studies and further research is required to ensure appropriate conditions are...

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...

The average survival rate for our Zebrafish (ZF) embryos was 65%. When it was time to create our next generation of Wild Type (WT) (used for embryo production), we decided to run a trial focussing...

Social species in captivity may face allostatic overload due to artificial grouping and other social constraints. In rescue centres, groups of psittacines are constantly mixed due to the arrival and/or release of individuals; this procedure...

The psychological and physiological effects of different genres of music are well documented in humans. These concepts have also been studied in kenneled dogs and some exotic animals, implying that animals may experience benefits similar...

Gray parrots (Psittacus erithacus) are popular companion birds, particularly noted for their ability to mimic human speech, their intelligence, and longevity. They are also prone to developing abnormal behaviors such as feather damaging behavior. This...

Wild zebrafish exhibit a wide range of behavior. We found abundant wild zebrafish in flowing rivers and still water, in large, tightly-knit groups of hundreds of individuals, as well as in small, loose shoals. In...

Environmental enrichment provides laboratory-housed species the opportunity to express natural behavior and exert control over their home environment, thereby minimizing stress. We sought to determine whether providing an artificial plant in the holding tank as...

The popularity of the zebrafish has been growing in behavioral brain research. Previously utilized mainly in developmental biology and genetics, the zebrafish has turned out to possess a complex behavioral repertoire. For example, it is...

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