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. 

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

Anticipatory behaviour describes the actions taken to prepare for an upcoming event. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in captivity are known to display anticipatory behaviours before feeding sessions, but it is unknown whether they would anticipate...

Many comparative studies have focused on the emergence of solitary and social play in early development, however, few consider observer and parallel forms of play. In this study, we analyzed approximately 21 h of video recordings...

Environmental enrichment is a crucial element of promoting welfare for animals in captivity. However, enrichment programs are not always formally evaluated for their efficacy. Furthermore, there is little empirical evidence of enrichment evaluation for species...

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...

In the wild, California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) are exposed to a wide variety of sensory information, which cannot be replicated in captive environments. Therefore, unique procedures are necessary for maintaining physiological and psychological health...

Dolphins in a captive setting can be occasionally subjected to a variety of potentially stressful situations. The stress response comprises a variety of biological reactions to internal or external stimuli elicited when an individual perceives...

Cognitive bias tests measure variation in emotional appraisal and are validated methods to assess animals’ affective states. However, the link between social behaviours and cognitive bias has not yet been investigated. Bottlenose dolphins are a...

Animal welfare science is a burgeoning field, but research on cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) is lacking. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are the most well-known and studied cetaceans, particularly in captivity, and thus are used...

Little is known about the specific behavioral exchanges that occur on a day-to-day basis between dyads of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). This study assesses the proportion of time dyads spend in proximity (within ∼2...

This article provides a brief historical background of the events and circumstances that led to the 1985 Animal Welfare Act (AWA) amendments. It describes the development of the regulations promulgated by the US Department of...

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