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. 

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...

This review paper is a synthesis of results from multiple studies that we have conducted over the past several years using similar methodologies to identify factors related to welfare of captive populations of elephants in...

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...

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...

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...

Population-level analyses suggest that habitat complexity, but not necessarily space availability, has important welfare outcomes for elephants in human care. At the Dallas Zoo, the opening of a new exhibit complex allowed us to measure...

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...

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...

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.

Elephants experience a number of health issues that can contribute to their well-being and survival. In managed populations, housing conditions and management practices can influence individual health, so potential risk factors associated with morbidity or...

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...

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...

This study examined the effects of simple changes in the tank environment on the wellbeing of laboratory-maintained zebrafish Danio rerio. Groups of D. rerio were either housed in stable environments (where they were maintained in...

Environmental stimuli are critical in preclinical research that utilizes laboratory animals to model human brain disorders. The main goal of environmental enrichment (EE) is to provide laboratory animals with better choice of activity and greater...

Zebrafish are now one of the most used animal model species in scientific research worldwide. Our current knowledge of wild zebrafish is limited to an estimated range of their natural habitats and their tendencies to...

Concern for elephant welfare in zoological facilities has prompted a number of exhibit and management modifications, including those involving enrichment. Knowledge of how these changes impact indicators of welfare, such as elephant movement and behaviour...

Cognitive stimulation has been shown to be rewarding and capable of eliciting positive emotions in several species. In contrast to the abundant learning and exploration opportunities available in nature, captive environments can be under-stimulating—with the...

A survey was conducted regarding zebrafish Danio rerio use for scientific research with a focus on: anaesthesia and euthanasia; housing and husbandry; breeding and production; refinement opportunities. A total of 98 survey responses were received...

Recently environmental enrichment for laboratory housed fish has received increasing levels of attention from a variety of interested parties from hobbyists, through animal technologists and aquaculturists, to scientists. Over the last few years, the growth...

As part of a multi-institutional study of zoo elephant welfare, we evaluated female elephants managed by zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and applied epidemiological methods to determine what factors in the...

We evaluated 255 African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants living in 68 North American zoos over one year to quantify housing and social variables. All parameters were quantified for the both the day...

Environmental enrichment provides laboratory-housed species the opportunity to express natural behavior and exert control over their home environment, thereby minimizing stress. We sought to determine whether providing an artificial plant in the holding tank as...

The inhibitory avoidance paradigm allows the study of mechanisms underlying learning and memory formation in zebrafish (Danio rerio Hamilton). For zebrafish, the physiology and behavior associated with this paradigm are as yet poorly understood. We...

Sexually mature zebrafish were housed as single male-female pairs with or without plastic vegetation for 1, 5, or 10 d for comparison of whole-body cortisol measured by radioimmunoassay. Individually housed male zebrafish were used as...

This article discusses how behavioral management, enrichment structures, diet, and light cycle can be used to help improve the welfare of zebrafish.

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