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 environment provided for animals in captivity is less complex than its natural habitat, which generates a stressful condition. Environmental enrichment tries to meet the animals’ ethological and psychological needs. This paper aims to evaluate...

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...

A common goal of captive animal institutions is to create environments that allow for the most naturalistic behavior from their animals. Behavioral data is often used as a measure of how an animal is thriving...

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...

Automatic feeders have already been developed by different institutions and companies. Feedpods are a perfect example of an elaborate manufactured device. They are currently used in many institutions with satisfying results. One of the main...

In the wild, hippopotamuses spend much of their daily activity in the water. In zoos, it is less clear the extent to which hippos spend time in the water. We examined how much time Woodland...

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...

Captive animal welfare is important for establishments that exhibit species for education, conservation, and research. However, captive animals are often exposed to a number of potential stressors, such as visitors and anthropogenic noise. We aimed...

Evaluations of enrichment are critical to determine if an enrichment program is meeting stated goals. However, nocturnal species can present a challenge if their active periods do not align with caretakers’ schedules. To evaluate enrichment...

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...

This study investigated the effects of two feeding enrichment programs on the behaviour of a captive pack of European wolves (Canis lupus lupus) and their correlation with both zoo visitors' interest towards the exhibit and...

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...

There is empirical support for the efficacy of enrichment in decreasing stereotypical behaviors and increasing naturalistic behaviors in laboratory, agricultural, and zoological settings. However, little research has been done on the possible value of enrichment...

Stereotypies in captive animals are typically defined as repetitive, invariant behavioral patterns with no obvious goal or function. They are often attributed to boredom or fear and treated by introducing occupational stimuli. The present work...

Environmental enrichment involves increasing the complexity of a fish's environment in order to improve welfare. Researchers are legally obliged to consider the welfare of laboratory animals and poor welfare may result in less robust data...

We compared preferences shown by zebrafish (Danio rerio) and three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) for shelter provided by above-tank shade and artificial plants. Zebrafish showed no preference for either shelter, whereas sticklebacks showed a preference for...

The aim of this study was to determine the hiding preferences of farmed European fallow deer does and fawns in natural sites and artificial shelters during the postnatal period. A total of 270 hours of...

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...

In the past few decades, there has been an increase in the number of zoo-based touchscreen studies of animal cognition around the world. Such studies have contributed to the field of comparative cognition despite the...

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