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. 

In a captive environment, it is challenging to ensure the highest level of social and psychological well-being for species with naturally complex social organizations and structures. There is a growing need to meet the social...

The long-term effects of early life adversities on social capacities have been documented in humans and wild-caught former laboratory chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). However, former pet and entertainment chimpanzees have received little attention to date. This...

The standard method of obtaining body temperature in a bird can be a stressful event, making routine evaluations challenging. Twenty-eight privately owned birds in good health were enrolled in the study to compare digital and...

Hematology is a common tool for wildlife health assessments. Manual leukocyte counts are required in reptiles, however, disagreement between quantification methods has been observed in some chelonians. This study determined agreement between two methods of...

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...

Studies on the etiology of behavioral problems often involve interference in the animal's routine or reliance on owners' self-reports like surveys. Gathering data from videos posted on social media, a technique coined ‘video mining’, offers...

Assessing and treating cardiovascular disease (or heart disease) is a growing concern for institutions housing great apes, as it is a major cause of mortality in all four taxa managed in human care. As part...

Our social relationships determine our health and well-being. In rodent models, there is now strong support for the rewarding properties of aggressive or assertive behaviors to be critical for the expression and development of adaptive...

The National Institutes of Health and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums recommend that captive chimpanzees be housed in multi‐male, multi‐female, age‐diverse groups of no less than seven individuals. These recommendations are rooted in the...

Songbirds are kept as pets around the world, and bird-singing contests occur in several countries. However, there is a lack of scientific support for songbird welfare and stress monitoring. Thus, we aimed to validate the...

Group housing of socially-deprived individuals facilitates welfare and socialisation of primates. Here, we studied behavioural and hormonal changes in the course of group formation among nine male chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes. Aggression, reassurance, and grooming were...

A cohort of captive-bred red-eared slider turtles, Trachemys scripta, was received from a commercial vendor. Shortly after arrival, several turtles presented as lethargic with subjectively pale skin and multifocal areas of cotton-like tufts in the...

Aggression in chickens is a serious economic and animal welfare issue in poultry farming. Pigmentation traits have been documented to be associated with animal behaviour. Chicken pecking behaviour has been found to be related to...

Non-invasive monitoring of the heart rate allows measuring the condition of the chick embryo in the incubation process without negative consequences for the future chick. The optical method for registering heartbeats is available to a...

Different aspects of sociality bear considerable weight on the individual- and group-level welfare of captive nonhuman primates. Social Network Analysis (SNA) is a useful tool for gaining a holistic understanding of the dynamic social relationships...

Understanding how social relationships affect long-term stress is important because stress has a profound impact on the welfare of animals and social relationships often exert a strong influence on their stress responses. The purpose of...

"When you keep adult Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) males, adult Cynomolgus (Macaca fascicularis) males or adult Vervet males (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), in the same enclosure, is it advisable to have the canines of the males blunted...

Play is sometimes considered as an indicator of positive animal welfare. However, it is not yet sufficiently understood whether or not social play among adults can be considered as such an indicator because it is...

For humans and for non-human primates heart rate is a reliable indicator of an individual’s current physiological state, with applications ranging from health checks to experimental studies of cognitive and emotional state. In humans, changes...

Although Syrian hamsters are thought to be naturally solitary, recent evidence from our laboratory demonstrates that hamsters may actually prefer social contact. Hamsters increase their preference for a location associated with an agonistic encounter regardless...

The presence of a social partner may significantly contribute to coping with stressful events, whereas dyadic separation generally increases glucocorticoid levels and, thereby, might also affect immune function and health. To study the covariation between...

Social species in captivity may face allostatic overload due to artificial grouping and other social constraints. In rescue centres, groups of psittacines are constantly mixed due to the arrival and/or release of individuals; this procedure...

Recent studies suggest that cognitive bias could constitute a novel and valid measure of animal welfare. Although interest for a link between personality and cognition is growing, no study to date investigated whether a cognitive...

The psychological and physiological effects of different genres of music are well documented in humans. These concepts have also been studied in kenneled dogs and some exotic animals, implying that animals may experience benefits similar...

Animals are often synchronised in their behaviour, with costs and benefits varying according to group size and the behaviour being performed. Making decisions about optimal allocation and distribution of resources to animals in our care...

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