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. 
Socially flexible species might be at an advantage when facing environmental unpredictability, human-induced rapid environmental changes, or unnatural conditions such as encountered in captivity. The European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) was originally described as solitarily...
Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) is a rare mammal appearing in South and Southeast Asia, first described in 1777. Because of the detrimental effects of stress, studying stress responses is important for this wildlife conservation...
While recent work has assessed how environmental and managerial changes influence elephant welfare across multiple zoos, few studies have addressed the effects of management changes within a single institution. In this paper, we examine how...
In a 2018 AALAS webinar on Sheep and Goat Analgesia, Dr. Susie Vogel, a small ruminant expert, introduced the concept of getting sheep and goats to willingly take medication by putting it in a tasty...
The introduction of elephants into new groups is necessary for breeding programmes. However, behavioural studies on the reactions of these animals at first encounters are missing. In the present study, female African elephants (Loxodonta africana)...
The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a solitary and naturally territorial animal, with female hamsters being more aggressive than males. This behavior makes handling difficult because they are usually housed in groups, which can lead...
Bio-logging is a common method to collect ecological data on wild animals, but might also induce stress, reduce body condition, and alter behavior. Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber) are a semi-aquatic and nocturnal species that are...
Sheep lameness is a major concern among farmers and policymakers with significant impacts on animal welfare standards as well as financial and production performance. The present study attempts to identify the relative importance of environmental...
A protocol for photo‐identification of individual Megatrygon microps has been defined. One hundred and four identification photographs were taken between 2005 and 2019. Spot patterns on the dorsal surface were used to identify individuals. Unique...
Passive integrated transponder (PIT)‐tagging is commonly used in behavioural studies of fish, although long‐term evaluations of effects from tagging under natural conditions are scarce. We PIT‐tagged common bream Abramis brama, European perch Perca fluviatilis, pike...
Research in ecology and wildlife biology remains crucial for increasing our knowledge and improving species management and conservation in the midst of the current biodiversity crisis. However, obtaining information on population status often involves invasive...
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...
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...
Modern zoos strive to improve standards of animal management, husbandry and welfare of their animals as part of a continual evaluation process. Elephants (Elephantidae) have received particular attention in recent years due to the challenge...
Ensuring good health and welfare is an increasingly important consideration for conservation of endangered species and includes breeding of individuals managed under human care. Understanding how factors in the captive environment affect individual animal wellbeing...
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 captive environment can limit some important behavioral options for nonhuman animals, which often results in decreased welfare. The companion of a conspecific can be a source of complexity in captivity, but this aspect has...
Elephants have complex social systems that are predominantly driven by ecological factors in situ. Within zoos, elephants are held in relatively static social groups and the factors observed driving social relationships in the wild are...
Individual animal personalities affect experiences of zoo environments, and thus potentially welfare. Incorporating keeper knowledge of animal personality in a reliable way has great value in optimising welfare in zoo-housed animals. Assessment of animal personality...
Demarking individual animals within a group is often required in research. However, the process of invasive tagging induces stress and if a tag becomes detached it may wound the animal and/or prevent identification. Photo identification...
Zoos play a vital role in managing and conserving a wide range of threatened species and in enhancing their populations in natural habitats through captive breeding and reintroduction programmes. Most small felids are poor breeders...
A recent large-scale welfare study in North America involving 106 Asian (Elephas maximus) and 131 African (Loxodonta africana) elephants at 64 accredited facilities identified links (i.e., risk factors) between zoo environmental factors and a number...
Tracking individual animals with small-sized passive integrated transponder tags (PIT tags) has become a popular and widespread method, one which can be used for investigating life history traits, including dispersal patterns of small protected animals...
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...
The Andean bear alopecia syndrome is a progressive and chronic condition documented in ex situ populations. Recent advances focus on treating symptoms, not preventing future cases. We therefore explored the epidemiology of this syndrome through...

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