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. 
Species-specific welfare indicators are important in promoting positive welfare for zoo animals. Reptiles are a notoriously understudied group in regards to behavior, welfare needs, and husbandry requirements. Using opportunistically obtained samples, we evaluated how blood...
There is a lack of clarity on whether pigs can emotionally respond to musical stimulation and whether that response is related to music structure. Qualitative Behavioral Assessment (QBA) was used to evaluate effects of 16...
Dogs and cats have been extensively studied of late in relation to their paw preferences, with both species showing preferential motor bias at the level of the individual. Over the years, a wide range of...
The concept of the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement) has been used as a framework for improving the welfare of laboratory animals for the last half century. By establishing an animal-centric view on housing and...
Animal models of human diseases are important in biomedical research. When using animals for scientific purposes, the 3Rs (replace, reduce, refine) should be considered. Refinement of animal models is essential to ensure best use of...
Firmly squeezing the chests of newborn foals and calves that are showing abnormal behaviours after birth causes them to enter a less-responsive state, characterised by lying down with eyes closed and no limb movements. Once...
Whether animals have emotions was historically a long-lasting question but, today, nobody disputes that they do. However, how to assess them and how to guarantee animals their welfare have become important research topics in the...
Describing certain animal behaviours as 'depression-like' or 'depressive' has become common across several fields of research. These typically involve unusually low activity or unresponsiveness and/or reduced interest in pleasure (anhedonia). While the term 'depression-like' carefully...
Livestock animals are sentient beings with cognitive and emotional capacities and their brain development, similar to humans and other animal species, is affected by their surrounding environmental conditions. Current intensive production systems, through the restrictions...
The present study examined whether tail and ear postures in fattening pigs (n = 228) housed in different environments could be suitable for assessing their affective state. In doing so, it investigated the appearance of...
Domestic dogs are trained using a range of different methods, broadly categorised as reward based (positive reinforcement/negative punishment) and aversive based (positive punishment/negative reinforcement). Previous research has suggested associations between use of positive punishment-based techniques...
The use of juvenile conventional pigs as a preclinical animal model to perform pharmacokinetic (PK), pharmacodynamic (PD) and safety studies for the paediatric population is increasing. Repetitive oral administration of drugs to juvenile pigs is...
This is the 5th volume of selected discussions that took place on the electronic Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum between February 2016 and December 2019. The forum was created in October 2002; it allows...
Here we describe the behaviour of a female blonde capuchin (Sapajus flavius) towards her dead infant and discuss possible explanations linked to the anecdotal event. We conducted our study in a fragment of Atlantic forest...
Animals’ tail posture and motion play an important role in communication, amongst others. In domestic pigs, the debate around tail docking and tail biting has made the tail an important research topic, and tail-related behaviour...
Provision of rooting material as enrichment for pigs has been primarily oriented towards reducing negative affect (suffering). Information is also needed on the impact of different types of rooting materials in promoting positive affect (pleasure)...
Pet rabbit welfare is a hidden crisis: Inappropriately housed, fed, and not routinely provided healthcare—rabbits can often suffer painful conditions and shortened lifespans. This study provides novel understanding of owners’ perceptions of rabbits’ mental capabilities...
Boredom, while often casually attributed to non-human animals by both laypeople and scientists, has received little empirical study in this context. It is sometimes dismissed by others as anthropomorphic or a trivial concern in comparison...
For many dogs, receiving veterinary care can be a stressful, fearful or traumatic experience. However, understanding and improving the veterinary experience for dogs is challenging due to the dynamic nature of the veterinary visit, the...
Traditional animal welfare paradigms have focused on maintaining physical health and mitigating negative impacts to wellbeing. Recently, however, the field has increasingly recognized the importance of positive welfare (i.e., mental and physical states that exceed...
The inclusion of emotional indicators in farm monitoring methods can improve welfare assessments. Studies in controlled conditions have suggested that increased tail movement is an indicator of positive emotions in pigs, while others have proposed...
We searched a selection of the scientific literature to document evidence for, and explorations into reptile sentience. The intention of this review was to highlight; (1) to what extent reptile capability for emotions have been...
Human body odors contain chemosignals that make species-specific communication possible. Interspecies communication studies were conducted on dogs and horses subjected to human chemosignals produced in happiness and fear emotional states. Dogs showed behaviors consistent with...
The Laboratory Animal Technology department at Envigo were engaged to perform a toxicity study in juvenile Göttingen Minipigs. The test compound was a human milk formula additive. Therefore, to mimic the conditions of clinical administration...
The neurobiological response to gentle touch remains poorly understood, especially in the context of human-animal interaction. A novel approach allowed recording the pig electroencephalogram (EEG) cranially epidurally and wirelessly during positive interactions with a human...

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