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. 
Husbandry training and environmental enrichment are both important advancements associated with current behavioural welfare practices. Additionally, the use of training procedures has been proposed as a form of enrichment, with the implication that training can...
Decisions about which foods to use during training and enrichment for captive animals may be based on invalid assumptions about individuals’ preferences. It is important to assess the stability of food preferences given that one-time...
How many of us have had this experience? We go to a conference, we read an article, we watch a video. We understand operant conditioning. We grasp the concepts behind clicker training, target training, and...
Professional animal trainer now Animal Health Technician explains various animal training terms and concepts.
Long-term, multi-institutional assessments have become a reliable tool for evaluating patterns of wounding in zoo-living primates, with results informing on best practices for species-specific care protocols and population management strategies. For western lowland gorillas (Gorilla...
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...
Positive reinforcement training (PRT) is associated with increases in species-typical behavior and decreases in stereotypic and abnormal behavior in participating animals. Physiological changes following PRT, for example, increases in oxytocin (OXT) and/or decreases in cortisol...
Blood sampling through the caudal vasculature is a widely used technique in fish biology for investigating organismal health and physiology. In live fishes, it can provide a quick, easy and relatively non‐invasive method for obtaining...
Training nonhuman primates (NHPs) to perform cognitive tasks is essential for many neuroscientific investigations, yet laboratory training is a time-consuming process with inherent limitations. Habituating NHPs to the laboratory staff and experimental equipment can take...
The actions of human caretakers strongly influence animals living under human care. Here, we consider how intentional and unintentional signals provided by caretakers can inform our assessment of animals' well-being as well as help to...
The Association of Primate Veterinarians (APV) recognizes that CSF collection may be required for both clinical and research purposes in nonhuman primates (NHP). Because there are inherent risks associated with the technique, the laboratory animal...
Preference testing has many benefits, informing both applied management decisions and theoretical questions. We developed a preference‐testing method in which subjects are shown pairs of photographs of food items on a touchscreen in a forced‐choice...
Rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss were infiltrated with either saline or lidocaine adjacent to the dorsal fin to assess histopathological changes. Infiltration was done as if it were being used as a local anaesthetic. Tissue lesions...
The ability to quickly and accurately determine cortisol as a biomarker for stress is a valuable tool in assessing the wellbeing of NHP. In this study, 2 methods of collecting saliva (a commercial collection device...
Gorilla Pathology and Health: With a Catalogue of Preserved Materials consists of two cross-referenced parts. The first, the book itself, is a review of pathological changes and tissue responses in gorillas (Gorilla gorilla and G...
Data collected in vivo is essential for advising decisions on drug screening and development and basic research, and animal models are used extensively for acquiring experimental measurements. Traditionally, collection of specimens has been invasive, stressful...
Minimizing the number of animals in regulatory toxicity studies while achieving study objectives to support the development of future medicines contributes to good scientific and ethical practices. Recent advances in technology have enabled the development...
In modern zoos, training should be an integral component of the animal care and management. The benefits of training include the opportunity for positive interactions with caretakers. This study was carried out with a group...
One aspect of maintaining and updating an environmental enrichment program is regular review of enrichment devices and their current uses. The review includes maintaining an accurate inventory to reflect the animal census, evaluating species-specific use...
With regards to the issue of animal training in the zoo community, there is some debate as to whether or not it should be considered a type of environmental enrichment (EE). This article suggests four...
Abnormal behavior, ranging from motor stereotypies to self‐injurious behavior, has been documented in captive nonhuman primates, with risk factors including nursery rearing, single housing, and veterinary procedures. Much of this research has focused on macaque...
This is the third volume of discussions that took place on the Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum (LAREF). This forum is dedicated to the exchange of personal experiences of refining the conditions under which...
Husbandry training of zoo animals (training) has been associated with many benefits, and indisputably is a valuable tool; training facilitates movement of animals within their environment, and participation in husbandry and medical procedures. Training has...
In the last decade several surveys of primate care and training programs highlight a common theme; despite scientific evidence that animal training can be effective in reducing stress, increasing efficiency and improving veterinary care, animal...
Nonhuman primates in research environments experience regular stressors that have the potential to alter physiology and brain function, which in turn can confound some types of research studies. Operant conditioning techniques such as positive reinforcement...

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