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. 

Arabella Gray discusses the latest evidence of the negative impact of aversive‐based training methods on companion dog welfare.

Professional animal trainer now Animal Health Technician explains various animal training terms and concepts.

How many of us have had this experience? We go to a conference, we read an article, we watch a video. We understand operant conditioning. We grasp the concepts behind clicker training, target training, and...

Clicker training has been a popular form of training for decades and is used in zoos, aquariums, and shelters. Only a handful of studies have investigated the efficacy of the clicker-training method itself despite its...

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...

Horses reared for meat production can be kept in intensive breeding farms where they are housed in group pens at high stocking densities. The present study aimed to evaluate whether the expressed behaviours correlated with...

Horses kept for meat production are reared in intensive breeding farms. We employed a checklist adapted from the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) assessment protocol. Our evaluation aims to assess whether welfare indicators are influenced by...

Dog training methods range broadly from those using mostly positive punishment and negative reinforcement (aversive-based) to those using primarily positive reinforcement (reward-based). Although aversive-based training has been strongly criticized for negatively affecting dog welfare, there...

Humans have shared a long history with horses and today we mainly consider horses as companions for sports and leisure activities. Previously, the human perspective of the human-horse relationship has been investigated but there has...

The actions of human caretakers strongly influence animals living under human care. Here, we consider how intentional and unintentional signals provided by caretakers can inform our assessment of animals' well-being as well as help to...

Body language is important for communication between individuals. Body language is based on the fact that the thought, alone of performing a known action will activate the motor neurons used for the action, resulting in...

A prevalent, traditional approach to horse-training is based on the belief that human dominance and leadership over horses is required to gain their respect and compliance. However, this denies the horses’ complex social organisation and...

Timing of reward is very important when training horses. Incorrect timing can lead to confusion and deleterious behaviors and learning will be impaired. Clicker training can be used as an important tool in training. However...

Reinforcer effectiveness refers to the reinforcer’s ability to control the subject’s target behaviour and is therefore critical to training success. Yet animals’ preferences, and the effectiveness of different rewards to function as reinforcers, are often...

Food motivation may influence an animal’s performance in food-rewarded learning tasks. Nevertheless, food is often used as a positive reinforcer in learning tasks to investigate cognitive abilities of farm animals, and to test effects of...

The methods by which dogs are trained vary between methods involving mainly negative reinforcement and positive punishment (aversive-based methods) and methods based essentially in positive reinforcement and negative punishment (reward-based methods). However, the use of...

The primary purpose of this study was to characterize operant learning performance of young foals. For each of 26 foals, aged 6–20 weeks, learning performance was quantitatively evaluated in a single brief training trial using...

Understanding the neural circuits underlying equine behaviour has the potential to help optimise strategies of husbandry and training. This review discusses two areas of neurophysiological research in a range of species and relates this information...

In recent decades, goose production has become more specialized and widespread, and rearing geese in plastic wire-floor pens is common in China. This type of rearing pattern is more productive than other rearing patterns since...

In the attempt to verify clicker training efficacy in shaping dogs’ novel behaviours, we studied 51 domestic dogs. Learning was evaluated in three different conditions: when the primary reinforcer (food) was presented in association with...

Training is recognised as important for laboratory animals, both to improve welfare and increase the efficiency of conducting husbandry and regulated procedures. Despite the acknowledged need for such training in the laboratory-housed dog and the...

This paper describes a method in which horses learn to communicate by touching different neutral visual symbols, in order to tell the handler whether they want to have a blanket on or not. Horses were...

With regards to the issue of animal training in the zoo community, there is some debate as to whether or not it should be considered a type of environmental enrichment (EE). This article suggests four...

There is increased regulatory emphasis on positive reinforcement training for husbandry, research procedures, and restraint devices. We practice acclimation, association, and positive reinforcement training with our beagle colony with goals to reduce stress for dogs...

Husbandry training of zoo animals (training) has been associated with many benefits, and indisputably is a valuable tool; training facilitates movement of animals within their environment, and participation in husbandry and medical procedures. Training has...

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