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. 

Evidence-based approaches are key to advancing all areas of zoo and aquarium practice. Output from empirical study must be disseminated to those within the industry so that results can support changes to husbandry and management...

Animal welfare is important for the humane treatment of animals under our care. Zoos and rescue centres manage various charismatic animals, such as big cats, with limited resources. It is therefore essential for caretakers to...

The behavior of animals is related to their health and welfare status. The latter plays a particular role in animal experiments, where continuous monitoring is essential for animal welfare. In this study, we focus on...

The good intentions of zoos to introduce enrichment practices that stimulate animals mentally and physically are not always achievable. Changes to the policies and procedures in organisations are difficult to fulfil for a range of...

The monitoring of animals under human care is a crucial tool for biologists and zookeepers to keep track of the animals’ physical and psychological health. Additionally, it enables the analysis of observed behavioral changes and...

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...

There are an estimated half-a-million Plains Bison (Bison bison) present in North America in commercial and conservation herds. Most bison are rounded up and “worked” annually for parasite control, veterinarian attention, and processing, making it...

Being in human care often modifies the behaviour of animals, mainly because of the lack of environmental stimuli, and the ease of finding food and reproductive partners. Animals in human care may have a poorer...

South Africa has many fenced reserves harbouring small to medium sized populations of African elephant (Loxodonta africana), most of which have been translocated. Elephants on fenced reserves may be exposed to various management interventions and...

Hair can be preferred over other biological matrices for ethical reasons. Hair samples can be obtained non-invasively, thus addressing the pressing issues of animal welfare in wildlife research. Additionally, hair collection is simple and inexpensive...

Captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are well-documented as being prone to behavioural disorders and, as a result, their welfare is the cause of increasing concern. There is therefore a need for an evidence-based approach to...

This study aimed to apply a protocol for assessing camel welfare, to develop a scoring system for the welfare measures, to produce overall assessment indices, and to classify the animal units (i.e., pens) according to...

The aim of this study was to develop and describe a protocol for assessing welfare in camels reared in intensive or semi-intensive systems. A literature review was conducted searching for scientific papers on assessment of...

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...

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...

The endangered Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) is currently distributed as a single wild population of 670 individuals and ∼400 captive animals globally. Although the captive lions are major hope for the species’ long-term conservation...

The use of odors is a popular form of sensory enrichment, yet few studies have investigated the longer lasting effects of biologically relevant chemical signals like pheromones. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are unique because they...

Stereotypies in captive animals have been defined as repetitive, largely invariant patterns of behavior that serve no obvious goal or function. Stereotypies are commonly attributed to boredom or stress and are typically treated by enriching...

It is sometimes essential to have an animal in the hand to study some of their ecological and biological characteristics. However, capturing a solitary, cryptic, elusive arboreal species such as the red panda in the...

The pygmy hog (Porcula salvania), until recently was classified as a critically endangered suid facing the threat of extinction due to habitat degradation. Efforts are being made to protect the pygmy hog from extinction and...

The past few decades have seen increased interest in studies examining the welfare of elephants and animal–visitor interactions. One understudied area for both pursuits is the impact of public feeding interactions. Our study examined the...

Mouse deer are primitive, forest ungulates found in Asia and Africa. Both the lesser mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus) and the Philippine mouse deer (T. nigricans) are managed in European zoos, but inconsistent breeding success between...

The study aimed to determine whether artificial shade influences grazing behavior and body weight of pregnant female red deer. Two groups of pregnant does were grazed in enclosures with shade (WS, n = 23), or non-shaded enclosures...

Historically, giraffes (Giraffa spp.) in zoos are known to have a high prevalence of deaths associated with serous fat atrophy, which has been linked to the impression that as browsers, they are more difficult to...

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