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. 
Animal welfare is important for the humane treatment of animals under our care. Zoos and rescue centres manage various charismatic animals, such as big cats, with limited resources. It is therefore essential for caretakers to...
Snake ownership is popular; however, housing and care may not always satisfy the animal's welfare needs. For example, snakes are often kept in environmental conditions that restrict their ability to stretch out fully or move...
This 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...
The article describes the care of the Olive python (Liasis olivaceus) including information on housing, feeding, handling, as well as the general health care of these animals. Some of the information presented is derived from...
Tigers (Panthera tigris spp.) are endangered in the wild; ensuring sustainable insurance populations requires careful planning within zoological collections. In captive situations, contraceptives are often used to control breeding and ensure genetically viable populations that...
Amphibian health problems of unknown cause limit the success of the growing number of captive breeding programs. Spindly leg syndrome (SLS) is one such disease, where affected individuals with underdeveloped limbs often require euthanization. We...
The assessment and understanding of Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Elimination (ADME) for new pharmaceuticals is required in regulatory submissions. Typically, ADME studies are conducted using metabolism cages designed for the single housing of animals to...
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...
This article describes a protocol for training capuchins for co-operative feeding. Three months after beginning the training, the two dominant individuals consistently stay stationed, calmly focused, and the keeper is able to hand the subordinate...
This article describes the care of the Children’s python (Antaresia childreni). It includes information on housing, feeding, handling, as well as the general health care of these animals. The information presented is derived from Standard...
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...
Husbandry procedures may cause behavioral and physiological changes to animals living in captivity. However, an individual’s reaction is not uniform and may be related to different coping strategies. In this study, we analyzed whether and...
Physiotherapy can be used to treat an animal following surgery, to help correcting abnormal gait and for treating tendon, bone or ligament damage. […] Of course, an animal can’t just be given a set of...
The weekend effect hypothesis proposes that captive primates are more likely to give birth during times of low disturbance and reduced staff activity. The hypothesis specifically predicts that laboratory‐housed primates will be more likely to...
This ethical discourse specifically deals with dilemmas encountered within zoological institutions, namely for the concept of natural living, and a new term—wilding. It is agreed by some that zoos are not ethically wrong in principle...
Achieving and maintaining high standards of animal welfare is critical to the success of a modern zoo. Research has shown that an animal's welfare is highly dependent on how various individual animal factors (e.g., species...
In anticipation of a major construction project in an urban New Zealand zoo, a study was initiated to assess the response to construction noise of selected animal species (elephant, giraffe, emu and alligator) previously observed...
We searched a selection of the scientific literature to document evidence for, and explorations into reptile sentience. The intention of this review was to highlight; (1) to what extent reptile capability for emotions have been...
Xenopus laevis have a unique process for consuming food. They lack a tongue and must utilize inertial suction, jaw prehension, forearm scooping, overhead kicking, and terrestrial lunges when hunting prey. The mechanism by which Xenopus...
Husbandry staff set a goal to develop a health monitoring program for a Xenopus laevis colony that included not only specific pathogen freedom, but wellness. This article describes environmental enrichment and a water recipe for...
Many husbandry routines in zoo herpetology are based on tradition, authoritarianism, anecdote, or speculation. However, relatively few empirical studies underlie many very common practices. We compared growth rates among littermates of Boa constrictor raised under...
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...
Lions (Panthera leo) are popular zoo animals and obligate carnivores. In the past, zoos focused on the nutritional aspect of feeding, whereas today they aim to encourage naturalistic feeding. AZA’s Lion Care Manual recommends a...
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...
North American zoological institutions typically feed ground raw meat diets to large exotic cats. These diets typically are nutritionally complete, but lack physical properties characteristic of whole prey. Lack of mastication and prey manipulation may...

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