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. 

The origins of floor-laying in ducks could be low motivation for a nest, or stress related to difficulties with accessing a nest (e.g. competition). Using a behavioural demand test, we investigated if increasing the work...

The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is widely used as a promising translational model organism for studying various brain disorders. Zebrafish are also commonly used in behavioral and drug screening assays utilizing individually tested (socially isolated) fish...

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...

Good practice for the housing and care of laboratory zebrafish Danio rerio is an increasingly discussed topic, with focus on appropriate water quality parameters, stocking densities, feeding regimes, anaesthesia and analgesia practices, methods of humane...

Recent research has uncovered many complex cognitive traits and affective processes in many reptile species, such as the ability to make choices that are rewarding or pleasurable. The investigation herein was initiated after many years...

The effect of environmental enrichment on the behavior and welfare in captivity of reptiles and of freshwater turtles in particular, which are popular aquarium and pet species, is very little studied compared to other taxa...

Wildlife research has been indispensable for increasing our insight into ecosystem functioning as well as for designing effective conservation measures under the currently high rates of biodiversity loss. Genetic and genomic analyses might be able...

Environmental enrichment is used to increase social and physical stimulation for animals in captivity which can lead to enhanced cognition. Fundamental to the positive effect enrichment has on the brain is that it provides opportunities...

Growing research effort has shown that physical enrichment (PE) can improve fish welfare and research validity. However, the inclusion of PE does not always result in positive effects and conflicting findings have highlighted the many...

Recent studies showed that freshwater turtles display inter-individual differences in various behavioural traits, which may influence their health and welfare in captivity due to differences in response to husbandry and enrichment strategies and in ability...

Environmental enrichment is a common tool used in zoo and aquarium settings to provide mental and physical stimulation to animals under human care. This paper aims to present a primary approach to goal-oriented environmental and...

Cetaceans are long-lived, social species that are valued as ambassadors inspiring the public to engage in conservation action. Under professional care, they are critical partners with the scientific community to understanding the biology, behavior, physiology...

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...

Environmental enrichment supports the well-being and welfare of captive animals. In the current study, the most suitable form of enrichment device for captive green turtles (Chelonia mydas) was investigated, to support head-start programs rearing turtles...

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...

Zebrafish has become an animal model in research and articles have established ideal conditions for their maintenance. However, little is known regarding the influence of gender and other cues on zebrafish behavior. Thus, here we...

Cognitive enrichment aims to provide animals with opportunities to use their cognitive skills and to promote behaviors associated with positive wellbeing. Cooperation in mammals has been recorded during various behavioral contexts such as hunting, mating...

Environmental enrichment is a key component in improving the psychological and physiological well-being of animals under professional care. Environmental enrichment involves the addition of stimuli, including objects and cognitive challenges, into the environment in order...

Despite the increasing popularity of zebrafish (Danio rerio) as an animal model, the environmental enrichment preferences of this species have been largely unexplored. We sought to determine the preferences of mature female zebrafish that were...

Model fish species such as sticklebacks and zebrafish are frequently used in studies that require DNA to be collected from live animals. This is typically achieved by fin clipping, a procedure that is simple and...

Studies on environmental enrichment for reptiles are lacking in the scientific literature. Although the literature reflects a limited take on reptile enrichment in the zoological community, it may not be the case in reality as...

Harbor seals in the wild live in a stimulating environment; therefore, nonhuman-animal caretakers have increasingly been using environmental enrichment to improve the well being of seals under human care. The purpose of this study was...

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.

Environmental enrichment, or the enhancement of an animal’s surroundings when in captivity to maximise its wellbeing, has been increasingly applied to fish species, particularly those used commercially. Laboratory species could also benefit from enrichment, but...

Environmental enrichment is used extensively to improve the welfare of animals in captivity, however, the importance of physical exercise as enrichment is only now coming to light. A key question in assessing the welfare of...

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