Refinement alternatives often include improvements to housing. Optimal housing allows animals to perform the widest possible range of species-typical behaviour. Different species have different requirements, and knowledge of natural history and behaviour is needed to provide appropriate accommodation. Other factors include the animal's age, health and reproductive status, and the impact of scientific procedures.
Consideration should be given to the quantity of space provided. Emphasis should be placed on exceeding minimum requirements.
Implementing refinement alternatives also requires regular review of housing and husbandry practices to ensure continual improvements are made.
This section has been adapted from the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) website.
For more information on housing, the following resources may be useful.
- Council of Europe (2006) Guidelines for accommodation and care of animals, Appendix A of the European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals Used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes.
- This document includes species-specific information for rodents, rabbits, cats, dogs, ferrets, nonhuman primates, farm animals, mini-pigs, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish.
- NSW Department of Primary Industries, Animal Research Review Panel (2008) Guidelines for the housing of rats in scientific institutions. Orange, Australia.
- Reinhardt V. and Reinhardt A. (n.d.) Database on Refinement of Housing and Handling Conditions and Environmental Enrichment for Animals kept in Laboratories (Rodents, Rabbits, Cats, Dogs, Ferrets, Farm Animals, Horses Birds, Fishes, Amphibians and Reptiles). Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).
- Reinhardt V. and Reinhardt A. (n.d.) Environmental Enrichment for Primates: Annotated Database on Environmental Enrichment and Refinement of Husbandry for Nonhuman Primates. Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).
- Hubrecht R. and Kirkwood J. (eds.) (2010) The UFAW Handbook on the Care and Management of Laboratory and Other Research Animals, 8th ed. Oxford UK: Blackwell Science.
- This book includes species-specific information for opossums, tree shrews, rodents, rabbits, cats, dogs, ferrets, nonhuman primates, cattle, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, mini-pigs, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and cephalopods.
- Poole T. (ed.) (1999) UFAW Handbook on the Care and Management of Laboratory Animals, Volumes 1 and 2, 7th ed. Oxford UK: Blackwell Science.
- Reinhardt V. (2004) Common husbandry-related variables in biomedical research with animals. Laboratory Animals 38(3):213-235.
- Reinhardt V. and Reinhardt A. (eds.) (2002) Comfortable Quarters for Laboratory Animals, 9th ed. Washington DC: Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).
Minimize this section