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. 

Bottlenose dolphins are social cetaceans that strongly rely on acoustic communication and signaling. The diversity of sounds emitted by the species has been structurally classified into whistles, clicks and burst-pulsed sounds. Although click sounds and...

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...

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...

Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...

Larval, or tadpole-stage Xenopus laevis frogs are a popular research model for developmental biology and disease studies. Existing euthanasia guidance documents offer recommendations for both eggs and adult stages, yet do not specifically address the...

Orcas are large, deep-diving cetaceans who are known for their global distribution, wide-ranging behavior, intelligence, and social complexity. They possess one of the largest and most complex brains in the mammalian kingdom. However, they are...

Modern day zoos and aquariums continuously assess the welfare of their animals and use evidence to make informed management decisions. Historically, many of the indicators of animal welfare used to assess the collection are negative...

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...

Husbandry staff set a goal to develop a health monitoring program for a Xenopus laevis colony that included not only specific pathogen freedom, but wellness. This article describes environmental enrichment and a water recipe for...

The management of socially complex species in captivity is challenging. Research on their social behavior improves our understanding of interactions in captive animals and captive-group management. We conducted a detailed analysis of social relationships shown...

Xenopus laevis have a unique process for consuming food. They lack a tongue and must utilize inertial suction, jaw prehension, forearm scooping, overhead kicking, and terrestrial lunges when hunting prey. The mechanism by which Xenopus...

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...

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...

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 second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...

Demarking individual animals within a group is often required in research. However, the process of invasive tagging induces stress and if a tag becomes detached it may wound the animal and/or prevent identification. Photo identification...

A collaborative effort was undertaken to delineate underwater noise levels within holding enclosures at marine mammal facilities. Ambient noise levels were measured under normal operating conditions in the enclosures of 14 participating facilities. Facility habitats...

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...

The Critically Endangered mountain chicken frog (Leptodactylus fallax) has undergone drastic population decline due to habitat loss, hunting, invasive species, and chytridiomycosis. In response, several partner institutions initiated a conservation breeding program. It is important...

There are no proven species-specific indicators of pain in harbour seals (Phoca vitulina). The analysis of facial expressions has proven to be a repeatable, accurate and valid method of identifying pain in multiple species, but...

Marine mammals include cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians, sea otters and polar bears, many of which are charismatic and popular species commonly kept under human care in zoos and aquaria. However, in comparison with their fully terrestrial...

Aquatic vertebrates and cephalopods, amphibians, reptiles, and birds offer unique safety and occupational health challenges for laboratory animal personnel. This paper discusses environmental, handling, and zoonotic concerns associated with these species.

Scoring and tracking animal movements manually is a time consuming and subjective process, susceptible to errors due to fatigue. Automated and semi-automated video-based tracking methods have been developed to overcome the errors and biases of...

Often few alternative anesthetics for exotic species are available, due to the small numbers of these animals used in research. In this study, we evaluated the depth and duration of anesthesia in Xenopus laevis after...

Many animals display a suite of increased vigilance and/or activity responses in relation to upcoming events, termed “anticipatory behavior.” Anticipatory behavior toward positive events has been suggested as a cross‐species measure of affective state as...

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