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. 
Abnormal behaviour in captive animals is both pervasive and ambiguous. Although individual differences are central to the field of animal welfare, studies on abnormal behaviour predominantly employ quantitative, population-level approaches. For example, whereas previous studies...
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...
Wild robust capuchins (Sapajus spp.) are omnivorous neotropical primates that live in relatively large groups in extensive home and daily ranges with activity budgets dominated by traveling, foraging, and object manipulation, meaning that enclosed spaces...
Early-life experiences may considerably affect the behavioural patterns of adult primates. Particularly, atypical rearing practices might lead to abnormal behaviours and social-sexual deficiencies in captive, adult non-human primates. We conducted behavioural observations of mother-reared (n...
Fur-chewing is a common problem in chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera). It may affect the welfare of animals due to heat loss, thereby possibly impacting food and water intake to maintain body temperature. In this context, infrared...
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...
Here we describe the behaviour of a female blonde capuchin (Sapajus flavius) towards her dead infant and discuss possible explanations linked to the anecdotal event. We conducted our study in a fragment of Atlantic forest...
Stereotypies are frequently associated with sub-optimal captive environments and are used as welfare indicators. However, susceptibility to stereotypy can vary across individuals of the same group. As such, identifying which individuals are more susceptible to...
The unique challenges faced by animals living in zoos can lead to the production of anxiety-related behaviours. In this study we aimed to understand what specific factors may cause chimpanzees to display these behaviours. In...
Chimpanzees demand specialized housing and care and the highest degree of attention to animal welfare. The current project used a survey method to collate information on chimpanzee housing and behavioral indices of welfare across all...
The 2011 European Union Zoo Inquiry presented evidence that most zoos fail to achieve adequate levels of nonhuman animal welfare. Appropriate environmental enrichment (EE) can play a role in the promotion of welfare. However, financial...
When primates exhibit hair loss and are observed to engage in self or social hair plucking (a rapid jerking away of the hair shaft and follicle by the hand or mouth, often accompanied by inspection...
Abnormal behavior occurs in a number of captive nonhuman primate species and is often used as an indicator of welfare. However, reported levels of abnormal behavior often vary across species, making general welfare judgments difficult...
The field of primate behavior management has had only limited success in preventing and treating abnormal behaviors, such as stereotypy and self‐injury, in captive non‐human primates (NHP). In contrast, applied behavior analysts have had great...
The success of breeding primates in captivity has led to a surplus number of animals in collections. This review examines published journals and key books to investigate the various methods of primate population control. Hormonal...
Fur chewing is a behavioral disorder frequently reported in chinchillas kept for fur-farming purposes. Rodents kept in barren cages usually develop some form of abnormal repetitive behavior, which can indicate a past or present welfare...
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...
Non-human primates occasionally exhibit behaviours thought to occur only in captivity that are considered abnormal. In particular, hair-plucking behaviour occurs across many species of mammals and birds. This study was the first to assess the...
This review will examine how individual differences in temperament might affect, or be affected by, behavioral management practices for captive primates. Measuring temperament may help us predict the outcome of social introductions. It can also...
The welfare of zoo animals depends on a combination of physical, social, dietary and other ecological characteristics of the captive setting. We analysed the influence of the transfer of an adult couple of hamadryas baboons...
Chimp Haven has retired 153 chimpanzees, the majority from biomedical research, and abnormal behavior patterns have been reported. Abnormal behaviors are well described in chimpanzees and usually related to early rearing environment, social isolation and...
Maintaining the psychologic wellbeing of nonhuman primates housed in a laboratory setting is an important aspect in providing the best possible care for these animals. Nonhuman primates kept in captivity can begin to display abnormal...
Self-injurious behavior (SIB) can result in open wounds, tissue damage, and increased risk of infection. In many cases, increased environmental enrichment is not consistently effective in eliminating this behavior. We report here on the successful...
As a way to reduce abnormal behaviors, specifically finger-sucking, hair-pulling, and reingestion/regurgitation, observed in two male gorillas at The ZOO Northwest Florida, a complex enrichment device that was contingent on the gorilla's ability to use...

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