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. 
Decisions about which foods to use during training and enrichment for captive animals may be based on invalid assumptions about individuals’ preferences. It is important to assess the stability of food preferences given that one-time...
Research primates may undergo surgical procedures making effective pain management essential to ensure good animal welfare and unbiased scientific data. Adequate pain mitigation is dependent on whether veterinarians, technicians, researchers, and caregivers can recognize and...
Information on fish preference for environmental conditions can be a useful tool to offer them what they want, an important requirement for welfare purposes. Giving that such an approach deals with psychological states of the...
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...
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...
Questionnaires are very useful tools when it comes to assessing zoo based animal measures and caretakers of these animals (such as keepers, trainers and veterinarians) are in the best position to provide accurate answers to...
Many articles have shown the benefits of operant conditioning training techniques in the care and welfare of several species of nonhuman primates; however, the information regarding their use in strepsirrhine species is scarce. We assessed...
Accredited zoos and aquariums continually strive to ensure high levels of animal welfare for the animals under their professional care. Best management practices include conducting research to better understand factors that lead to optimal welfare...
The way an animal uses its habitat can serve as an indicator of habitat appropriateness for the species and individuals. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus and Tursiops aduncus) in accredited zoos and aquariums experience a range...
Captive welfare studies in odontocete species have been mostly conducted on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) while the welfare of many other species’ -including endangered species- remains poorly studied. More research is needed to find and...
Positive reinforcement training (PRT) is associated with increases in species-typical behavior and decreases in stereotypic and abnormal behavior in participating animals. Physiological changes following PRT, for example, increases in oxytocin (OXT) and/or decreases in cortisol...
Training nonhuman primates (NHPs) to perform cognitive tasks is essential for many neuroscientific investigations, yet laboratory training is a time-consuming process with inherent limitations. Habituating NHPs to the laboratory staff and experimental equipment can take...
Fish welfare is still a relatively new field. As such, regulations and protocols to ensure fish welfare are currently limited and vary considerably in different jurisdictions. This is in part because of the ongoing controversy...
In this review, we focus primarily on the refinement of common methods used in fish research based on emerging knowledge with the aim of improving the welfare of fish used in scientific studies. We consider...
The number of fish used in research has increased in the last decades. Anaesthesia is required when fish must be held immobile and it is crucial to promote fish welfare, because these vertebrates can show...
Personality, defined as consistent between-individual variation in clusters of behavioral traits independent of factors such as age or sex, emerges in most animal species tested so far. The number of invertebrate species discovered to have...
Analgesics are an integral part of routine pain management in mammals, yet their use in fish is still limited. Some recommendations on the use of analgesics in fish are currently in the literature; however, information...
Preference testing has many benefits, informing both applied management decisions and theoretical questions. We developed a preference‐testing method in which subjects are shown pairs of photographs of food items on a touchscreen in a forced‐choice...
Research has recently demonstrated that larval zebrafish show similar molecular responses to nociception to those of adults. Our study explored whether unprotected larval zebrafish exhibited altered behaviour after exposure to noxious chemicals and screened a...
Local anesthetics are an integral part of routine pain management in mammals, yet their use is relatively limited in fish, amphibians and reptiles. These animals frequently undergo potentially painful surgical procedures and therefore could possibly...
Fish are known to respond to a wide range of irritant chemicals, displaying clear behavioural changes after exposure to potentially noxious stimuli. Recent evidence shows that these agents can have an impact on larval forms...
Recent studies have demonstrated that fish exhibit behavioural responses to noxious stimuli, including mechanical, chemical or thermal stimulation. In many cases, these responses are characterised by a reduction in the locomotor activity, which in turn...
Home Office guidelines recommend the use of analgesics for all protected species, including fish during scientific procedures likely to result in pain, suffering, distress and lasting harm. In larger fish species some drugs have shown...
Anaesthesia is used daily in fish experimental procedures; however, the use of an inadequate anaesthetic protocol can compromise not only the animal’s welfare but also the reliability of results. The use of zebrafish (Danio rerio)...
In modern zoos, training should be an integral component of the animal care and management. The benefits of training include the opportunity for positive interactions with caretakers. This study was carried out with a group...

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