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. 
Providing novel and creative enrichments for nonhuman primates improves their mental wellbeing and is thus an important aspect of all husbandry programs. These enrichments are often presented through variations in diet, toys, and environmental features...
This traditional snack has a variety of options for NHP enrichment. From fruit to cereals, get creative with the “ants” and remember to consider different fillings for the celery log.
This great cool-down snack is ideal for group or singly housed swine or nonhuman primates (particularly in larger pen-style housing). This item can be customized for canines as well by modifying the liquid used and/or...
At the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, NHPs may need to be singly housed for research purposes or veterinary care, and it can be challenging to keep them optimally enriched. This sometimes results in...
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...
This DIY snack is great for NHP and can be customized in a variety of ways.
This simple DIY training treat is great for NHP, swine, rabbits, rodents, and dogs. Note that dehydrated watermelon may resemble muscle tissue!
There are several items we often use in animal facilities that when finished with are thrown away. However, many of these items come in packaging that can be recycled as enrichment for our animals, particularly...
This article describes the ingredients, supplies, and directions to make this DIY hanging item, which is great for NHP and swine.
This article describes the ingredients and directions to make this simple DIY destructible enrichment for NHP and swine.
The Association of Primate Veterinarians (APV) recognizes that several forms of restraint, including physical and chemical, are necessary for the safe handling of nonhuman primates (NHPs). The following guidelines aim to provide information to researchers...
This article describes the importance of providing laboratory animals with opportunities to engage in play, and provides a few practical ideas for how to do this.
Innovations in apparatus technology come about for a variety of reasons such as the need to use the same methodology with various species, the opportunity to present dynamic and carefully controlled stimuli, the goal of...
This article describes creative enrichment ideas for nonhuman primates, including celery stalks embedded with seeds; paper rolled into tubes, braided and filled with fruit and seeds; pineapple crowns loaded with treats; dry spaghetti noodles coated...
It is widely known that the psychological wellbeing of captive animals can become compromised by a captive environment that lacks proper environmental stimulation. Environmental enrichment programs have become the norm in captive environments yet research...
"Do any of you give cooked food like pasta, potatoes or vegetables to non-human primates? What’s your experience? Do the animals benefit from cooked food; do they like it; does it affect their health in...
More than a quarter of a century has elapsed since the Animal Welfare Act mandated that research facilities develop and follow a plan to promote the psychological well-being of captive primates. Since passage of this...
Specifically designed restraint chairs are the preferred method of restraint for research studies that require NHP to sit in place for sustained periods of time. In light of increasing emphasis on refinement of restraint to...
The act of grooming has been found to greatly decrease stress, heart rate, and cortisol levels in nonhuman primates; this decrease in stress and cortisol is seen in the animal being groomed, as well as...
Primates are highly social animals and appropriate enrichment is required to ensure their psychological well-being. Mirrors are sometimes used as social or sensory environmental enrichment. In this paper we investigate the suitability of mirrors as...
Monkeys first arrived in the Comparative Biology Centre (CBC) at Newcastle University in 2000. They were housed in three small separate units consisting of steel and wooden cages. In 2011 a decision was made to...
All non-human great apes are endangered, and for these animals, captive individuals play an important role in the species’ conservation management plan. Therefore, information about their current enrichment activities is essential for maintaining a healthy...
At the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Department of Comparative Medicine, we have a large captive colony of Olive Baboons (Papio anubis). Environmental enhancement is an integral part of the Comparative Medicine Baboon Research...
Reduced space can lead to crowding in social animals. Crowding increases the risk of agonistic interactions that, in turn, may require additional physiological defensive coping mechanisms affecting health. To determine the stress induced from increased...

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