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. 

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 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...

Comparative thanatology encompasses the study of death-related responses in non-human animals and aspires to elucidate the evolutionary origins of human behavior in the context of death. Many reports have revealed that humans are not the...

While non-human primate studies have long been conducted in laboratories, and more recently at zoological parks, sanctuaries are increasingly considered a viable setting for research. Accredited sanctuaries in non-range countries house thousands of primates formerly...

Chimpanzees in zoos with sufficient and appropriate environmental enrichment devices are expected to exhibit behaviors, interactions, and societies similar to those in the wild. In this study, we compared the activity budgets of each observed...

The performance of natural behavior is commonly used as a criterion in the determination of animal welfare. This is still true, despite many authors having demonstrated that it is not a necessary component of welfare...

Social grooming is often exchanged between individuals in many primate species. Rates of bidirectional (or simultaneous mutual) grooming vary across primate species, and its function is not yet fully understood. For example, mutual grooming is...

Wild great apes build beds for sleeping by combining tree branches or other vegetation, but the development of this behavior is poorly understood. We investigated the development of bed-building behaviors by conducting complementary cross-sectional and...

Modern day zoos and aquariums continuously assess the welfare of their animals and use evidence to make informed management decisions. Historically, many of the indicators of animal welfare used to assess the collection are negative...

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.

The past few decades have seen a burgeoning of scientific studies on great apes’ use of nests for sleeping in the wild, as well as their nesting behavior and sleep in captivity. We review recent...

Naturalness is considered important for animals, and is one criterion for assessing how we care for them. However, it is a vague and ambiguous term, which needs definition and assessments suitable for scientific and ethical...

Many biomedical research studies use captive animals to model human health and disease. However, a surprising number of studies show that the biological systems of animals living in standard laboratory housing are abnormal. To make...

The degree to which the relatively smaller area of artificial environments (compared with natural habitats) has measureable effects on the behavior and welfare of captive animals has been debated for many years. While there is...

Primates are notable for having a rich and detailed understanding of their social environment and there has been great interest in the evolution and function of social knowledge in primates. Indeed, primates have been shown...

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...

Refinement typically is viewed as a means of reducing harms to animals used in laboratory research. Examples of recent research on refinement include improved methods of handling and euthanasia. Focus in the animal welfare literature...

There are potential advantages of housing primates in mixed species exhibits for both the visiting public and the primates themselves. If the primates naturally associate in the wild, it may be more educational and enjoyable...

Consolation is a triadic postconflict interaction between a conflict participant and an uninvolved third party. We tested whether consolation alleviates postconflict stress in captive chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes. In addition, we examined whether consolation is a...

An ethological understanding of a behavioral phenomenon incorporates four levels of explanation: development, mechanism, function, and evolution. The phenomenon of socially-mediated learning has garnered a great deal of attention from ethologists, prominently including primatologists. Gregarious...

The chimpanzee is the only representative of the Great Apes that is extensively involved in biomedical research in primate laboratories. These apes are used as animal models in a variety of studies, including research on...

Their tendency toward natural behavior is probably little changed from their wild counterparts, despite the overwhelming influence of captivity on behavior... From a chimpanzee's point of view, it would be better to stimulate behavior characteristics...

It is important that all females of a new [heterosexual] group are related to each other, that is, that they come from the same natal group. The introduction of unfamiliar females to a small group...

Twenty-six reports provide detailed information of how primates can be trained to voluntarily cooperate - rather than resist - during blood collection, injection, topical drug application, blood pressure measurement, urine collection, and capture.

A semi-natural habitat that was designed to house a group of squirrel monkeys is described. Animals maintained in this environment were healthy, and none of the animals exhibited locomotor stereotypies. This facility was easier and...

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