Refinement Database

Database on Refinement of Housing, Husbandry, Care, and Use of Animals in Research

This database, created in 2000, is updated every four months with newly published scientific articles, books, and other publications related to improving or safeguarding the welfare of animals used in research.

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, Setting, 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, and only publications dated 2020 or later (with some exceptions) can be filtered by Setting. Most publications older than 2010 can only be searched by keyword. 

To date, there is no official method for measuring horse welfare after transport. This study aimed to develop a scale to classify horses into four categories: good shape; light affected; affected; down (GLAD) based on...

Mobile zoos are events in which non-domesticated (exotic) and domesticated species are transported to venues such as schools, hospitals, parties, and community centres, for the purposes of education, entertainment, or social and therapeutic assistance. We...

There is an ethical responsibility to provide all animals living in human care with optimal and positive well-being. As animals living in zoos and aquariums frequently interact with their human caregivers as part of their...

There is increasing evidence of compromised welfare for elephants managed in captivity. Should such facilities eventually close, more elephants will need to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the wild. The goal of such reintegration would...

Effective vaccines are needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Forty golden hamsters were inoculated with two promising vaccine candidates and eighteen animals were used in pilot trials with viral challenge. ELISA assays were performed to...

Horses are commonly trained using negative reinforcement. However, a growing body of scientific evidence supports positive reinforcement as an efficient training method for horses. In this study we investigated the effects of adding a small...

Despite donkeys being involved in various activities with humans, their cognitive and learning abilities are still little known. A deeper understanding of their perceptive, cognitive and learning processes is, thus, necessary to preserve their well-being...

Catching and crating may elicit stress and fear reactions in poultry because the procedures involve human contact and exposure to a novel environment. This study determined the effects of dietary probiotic supplementation on physiological stress...

Horses with a low level of tameness are at higher risk for transport-related disease and injury; hence, European regulations for the protection of animals during transport (EC 1/2005) are stricter for unhandled (unbroken) horses. However...

Dealing with potential stress in species that have high husbandry requirements, such as elephants, is a challenge for zoos. The objective of the present study was to determine whether positive reinforcement training (PRT) and exposure...

Comprehensively explains animal learning theories and current best practices in animal training within zoos. This accessible, up-to-date book on animal training in a zoo/aquaria context provides a unified approach to zoo animal learning, bringing together...

The regulations for minimal space and direction of travel for land transport in horses vary worldwide and there is currently no definitive guidance to promote equine health and welfare. This study evaluated the effects of...

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...

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 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...

Humans have shared a long history with horses and today we mainly consider horses as companions for sports and leisure activities. Previously, the human perspective of the human-horse relationship has been investigated but there has...

Human-wildlife interactions continue to increase due to anthropogenic disturbances, with some interactions resulting in conflict. Leveraging a taxa’s bias for a particular sensory cue is a promising management avenue for reducing the potential and realized...

Timing of reward is very important when training horses. Incorrect timing can lead to confusion and deleterious behaviors and learning will be impaired. Clicker training can be used as an important tool in training. However...

A prevalent, traditional approach to horse-training is based on the belief that human dominance and leadership over horses is required to gain their respect and compliance. However, this denies the horses’ complex social organisation and...

Body language is important for communication between individuals. Body language is based on the fact that the thought, alone of performing a known action will activate the motor neurons used for the action, resulting in...

Horses are routinely transported for access to safe off-road riding, veterinary care, breeding, sale, or moving to a new home environment. However, transport is a known stressor in horses. For this reason, problem behavior when...

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...

In fiscal year 2016, agricultural animals such as swine, sheep, goats, and cattle represented 10% of the 820 812 animals used in USDA-regulated research. In addition to traditional agricultural animals, research studies using captive wildlife...

Collection of blood from pregnant mares for extraction of equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) is a critical but relatively unknown and poorly regulated practice in the countries in which it occurs. Equine chorionic gonadotropin is a...