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...

In the recent past, animal welfare studies have tried to determine the best animal welfare measures and indicators. Expression of behavioural diversity is considered a potential positive welfare indicator, and to the authors’ knowledge, it...

This research focused on different aspects of play behavior including ethogram, ontogeny, and individual differences, in one male and one female captive bottlenose dolphin calves (Tursiops truncatus) from November 2003 to June 2004. We presented...

Whether animals have emotions was historically a long-lasting question but, today, nobody disputes that they do. However, how to assess them and how to guarantee animals their welfare have become important research topics in the...

The objective was to determine broiler chicken behavioral differences in response to novel flooring treatments. Broilers (n = 182) were housed in 14 pens (a random subset from a larger-scale study including 42 pens), with...

Describing certain animal behaviours as 'depression-like' or 'depressive' has become common across several fields of research. These typically involve unusually low activity or unresponsiveness and/or reduced interest in pleasure (anhedonia). While the term 'depression-like' carefully...

Livestock animals are sentient beings with cognitive and emotional capacities and their brain development, similar to humans and other animal species, is affected by their surrounding environmental conditions. Current intensive production systems, through the restrictions...

Accredited zoological facilities are committed to fully understanding the behavioral, mental, and physical needs of each species to continuously improve the welfare of the animals under their professional care and detect when welfare has diminished...

Affective state can bias an animal’s judgement. Animals in positive affective states can interpret ambiguous cues more positively (“optimistically”) than animals in negative affective states. Thus, judgement bias tests can determine an animal’s affective state...

Reactions to dying and dead conspecifics have been observed in many non-human animals. Elephants, particularly African elephants, are thought to have an awareness of the death of their conspecifics, as they show compassionate behaviour towards...

For over a century, the practice of deflighting has taken place in zoological collections in order to ensure birds remain in open-topped enclosures. Over time, efforts have been made to improve or develop new (surgical)...

In commercial flocks of laying hens, keel bone fractures (KBFs) are prevalent and associated with behavioural indicators of pain. However, whether their impact is severe enough to induce a depressive-like state of chronic stress is...

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...

Orcas are large, deep-diving cetaceans who are known for their global distribution, wide-ranging behavior, intelligence, and social complexity. They possess one of the largest and most complex brains in the mammalian kingdom. However, they are...

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...

The welfare status of elephants under human care has been a contentious issue for two decades or more in numerous western countries. Much effort has gone into assessing the welfare of captive elephants at individual...

We explore elephant play behaviour since (a) play has been proposed to represent a potential welfare indicator; and (b) play has been associated with long-term survival in the wild. We categorised play into four types...

Failing to provide hamsters with a method to wear down their teeth can lead to detrimental behaviour such as bar chewing, and health issues, for example, overgrown teeth and tooth loss. However, hamsters use their...

The present study assessed the diurnal variation in salivary cortisol in captive African elephants during routine management (baseline) and in relation to a potential stressor (translocation) to evaluate to what extent acute stress may affect...

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...

The objective of this study was to evaluate effects of environmental enrichment on play behaviour in fast-growing broiler chickens. Chicks (19 of each sex) were randomly assigned to 6 non-enriched (NE) pens and 6 pens...

Feed particles are preferred for foraging and they are also a stimulus for sham dustbathing. Most sham dustbathing bouts start with bill raking in the feed by caged hens. As hens often exhibit a floor...

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...

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...

Environmental enrichment promotes sensory and motor stimulation for species-typical behaviors, which in turn enhance animal well-being. For farmed Galliformes, housing systems often limit enrichment to bedding and litter, that simultaneously act as material for dustbathing...

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