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. 
Species-specific welfare indicators are important in promoting positive welfare for zoo animals. Reptiles are a notoriously understudied group in regards to behavior, welfare needs, and husbandry requirements. Using opportunistically obtained samples, we evaluated how blood...
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...
Stereotypies in captive animals have been defined as repetitive, largely invariant patterns of behavior that serve no obvious goal or function. Stereotypies are commonly attributed to boredom or stress and are typically treated by enriching...
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...
It is sometimes essential to have an animal in the hand to study some of their ecological and biological characteristics. However, capturing a solitary, cryptic, elusive arboreal species such as the red panda in the...
Despite the widely used application of standardized capture-handling protocols to collect blood and assess the physiological stress response, the actual sampling design (e.g., timing and the number of blood samples) often differs between studies, and...
The fitting of tracking devices to wild animals requires capture and handling which causes stress and can potentially cause injury, behavioural modifications that can affect animal welfare and the output of research. We evaluated post...
Research with captive wildlife in Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL2) and 3 (ABSL3) facilities is becoming increasingly necessary as emerging and re-emerging diseases involving wildlife have increasing impacts on human, animal, and environmental health. Utilizing...
Research in ecology and wildlife biology remains crucial for increasing our knowledge and improving species management and conservation in the midst of the current biodiversity crisis. However, obtaining information on population status often involves invasive...
Pathological lesions of feet occur frequently in captive elephant populations. To improve foot health, it is important to identify risk factors associated with such pathologies. Several previous studies have analyzed potentially influencing factors but were...
All capture methods impose animal welfare impacts, but these impacts are rarely quantified or reported. We present data from two wildlife capture studies that trialled new methods for capturing Bennett’s wallabies (Notamacropus rufogriseus) and red...
Zoos play an important role in conservation, participating in captive breeding programmes and scientific research. The research can be shared and inform practice in the field and zoos. A behavioural observation study was conducted on...
The serval (Leptailurus serval) is a small African felid that is well represented in zoos and often serves as an animal ambassador in encounter programs with zoo visitors. The impact on serval welfare in relation...
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 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...
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...
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...
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...
This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...
Stereotypic behavior in zoo elephants is considered an indicator of impaired welfare. The underlying causes are diverse and many aspects are still unexplored. Nevertheless, many zoological institutions take huge efforts to improve the well-being of...
Wild animals are maintained in Zoological facilities for purposes of education, conservation, research, and recreation. Several studies have proven that the surroundings of an animal's artificial habitat, as well as environmental enrichment techniques, are factors...
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...
The field of zoo animal welfare science has developed significantly over recent years. However despite this progress in terms of scientific research, globally, zoo animals still face many welfare challenges. Recently, animal welfare frameworks such...
Zoo‐housed bears are prone to exhibiting stereotypic behaviors, generally considered indicators of negative welfare. We explored the effects of a variable‐time feeding enrichment schedule on behavioral indicators of welfare in four bear species at Cleveland...
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...

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