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...
General anesthesia as used for rodent research can have adverse effects on physiologic mechanisms. Thermoregulation is often greatly inhibited, with resultant deleterious effects on cardiac and respiratory function. These potential effects can be mitigated by...
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...
This literature review was aimed at analyzing whether stallion husbandry in groups is possible and desirable or poses risks. This was determined on the basis of different studies in order to be able to give...
Every animal species has particular environmental requirements that are essential for its welfare, and when these so-called “basic needs” are not fulfilled, the animals suffer. The basic needs of horses have been claimed to be...
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...
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...
Horses kept for meat production are reared in intensive breeding farms. We employed a checklist adapted from the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) assessment protocol. Our evaluation aims to assess whether welfare indicators are influenced by...
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...
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...
Horses reared for meat production can be kept in intensive breeding farms where they are housed in group pens at high stocking densities. The present study aimed to evaluate whether the expressed behaviours correlated with...
We compared welfare measures of horses among Swedish riding schools (RS) during winter where horses were kept either in group housing (n = 8) or in tie-stalls/boxes (n = 8), Health data for six previous...
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...
This open access book is a printed edition of the Special Issue on Welfare of Cultured and Experimental Fishes that was published in the journal Fishes. The PDF is free for download.
Horses are mainly housed in individual boxes. This housing system is reported to be highly detrimental with regard to welfare and could trigger the expression of four behavioural indicators of a compromised welfare state: stereotypies...
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...
Group housing provides horses with social contact, a lack of which is associated with health and behavior problems. Despite the benefits of group housing for horses, horse owners are concerned about aggression and resulting injuries...
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...
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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