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. 

Confinement and restriction of movement are a reality for most dairy cows. Providing outdoor access is one method to increase movement opportunities. However, leading cows to an outdoor exercise area increases their exposure to manipulations...

The aim of this study was to investigate if calves’ play behaviour and non-nutritive sucking behaviour, as indirect measures of welfare status, are associated with the age of the calf when group housed, age when...

Reading books to shelter animals combining auditory enrichment with human presence is increasingly used although its effects on animal welfare have not yet been investigated. This study compared the behaviour of single-housed shelter dogs and...

Confinement and restriction of movement are a reality for most dairy cows. Providing outdoor access is one method to increase movement opportunities. However, leading cows to an outdoor exercise area increases their exposure to manipulations...

People often express concern for the welfare of farm animals, but research on this topic has relied upon self-report. Facial expressions provide a quantifiable measure of emotional response that may be less susceptible to social...

To date, Qualitative Behavior Assessment (QBA) has not been used to measure the welfare of pre-partum Zebu heifers treated with practices of positive handling. The study objective was to investigate the effect of brushing as...

Although alpacas are becoming increasingly popular animals, their behaviour towards humans has received little research interest until now. The purpose of our study was to investigate, for the first time, associations between caretaker attitudes and...

A total of 416 day-old ostrich chicks were randomly allocated to one of the three different husbandry practices for 3 months after hatch; HP1 (extensive human presence with gentle human voice, visual and gentle physical...

Positive stockperson attitudes to his or her animals is associated with a positive behavioural response in the animals and in other indicators assumed to reflect a high level of welfare as well as increased productivity...

Domestic dogs experience a sensitive period for learning during early life and conditions during this time can have important consequences in the adult. We investigated the effects of kennel environment during early life, comparing the...

Gentle animal–human interactions, such as stroking, can promote positive emotions and thus welfare in cattle. While previous studies showed that stroking at the ventral neck elicited the most positive reactions in cows, intra-specific allogrooming in...

Dairy housing systems can have major implications on how freely cows move within their environment and how fully they can express their behavioral repertoire, impacting overall welfare. To ensure housing systems are meeting the needs...

The behaviour of new world camelids towards humans has received little research attention so far. Our aims were to assess the response of alpacas and llamas to handling, and to investigate its associations with caretaker...

The quality of the social environment should be studied as one of the welfare components of dairy herds. Licking and preference between cows are important socio-positive experiences in this context.The aims of this study were...

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...

In semi-natural mixed-sex groups, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) organize their social life by forming a hierarchy, which is characterized by linearity and stability. Compared to the natural environment, many factors are different in contemporary breeding systems...

The animal-human relationship is essential for farm animal welfare and production. Generally, gentle tactile and vocal interactions improve the animal-human relationship in cattle. However, cows that are fearful of humans avoid their close presence and...

Family dogs (Canis familiaris) seek human contact from an early age, can discriminate and prefer their caregivers over other humans. To investigate if being kept as a family animal is sufficient to induce similar early...

For gregarious species such as domestic cattle, the social environment is a very important determinant of their welfare and fitness. Understanding the complexity of cows' relationships can assist the development of management practices that are...

There is a long history of laboratory studies of the physiological and behavioral effects of stress, its reduction, and the later psychological and behavioral consequences of unmitigated stress responses. Many of the stressors employed in...

The human-animal interactions are a key component of human and animal welfare. The quality of this interaction can therefore be assessed by measuring the reaction response of the animals to the handler’s behavior. The aim...

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...

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...

The quality of the animal-human relationship and, consequently, the welfare of animals can be improved by gentle interactions such as stroking and talking. The perception of different stimuli during these interactions likely plays a key...

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...

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