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. 

To assess the welfare of captive animals, validated measures, so-called ‘welfare indicators’, are required. We used a triangulation approach to investigate the extent to which different measures converged to provide corroborating evidence of welfare. Laying...

The main conditions and diseases considered painful in dairy cows are mastitis, lameness, calving (including dystocia and caesarean section) and metritis. The cattle literature reports that deviation from normal daily activity patterns (both increased and/or...

Environmental enrichment (EE) can be used to enhance the environment of various animals. The aim of this pilot study was to determine the effects of seven EE activities (Bonding, Bubble machine, Conspecific play, Interactive toy...

Veterinary visits can be stressful for dogs, but how their wellbeing changes during a visit is not well understood. Music therapy has been successfully used in clinical practice to alleviate stress and anxiety in people...

Extreme sunlight might be aversive to free-range laying hens, discouraging them from going outside. Range enrichment with artificial shelters may protect hens from sunlight and increase range use. The preferences of 34–40-week-old Hy-Line Brown laying...

Increased environmental complexity can improve animal welfare, depending on the resources provided and use by the animal. We provided chickens either with physical items that posed no biosecurity risk and were inexpensive (balls, chains, perches...

Enrichment during the indoor rearing of pullets destined for free-range systems may optimize pullet development including increasing motivated natural behaviors (termed ‘positive behaviors’) including foraging, dust bathing and chick play. Hy-Line Brown® chicks (n =...

A negative human-animal relationship (HAR) from the perspective of the animal is a limiting factor affecting farm animal welfare, as well as farm animal productivity. Research in farm animals has elucidated sequential relationships between stockperson...

Prompt pain management is crucial in horses; however, tools to assess pain are limited. This study aimed to develop and pilot a composite scale for pain estimation in foals. The “Foal Composite Pain Scale” (FCPS)...

There is increasing recognition that farm animal welfare standards should ensure positive welfare, as well as prevent negative welfare. Resources that are valued by an animal and that provide opportunities to engage in motivated behaviours...

In conventional rearing systems, fast-growing broiler chickens commonly experience welfare issues, such as contact dermatitis, walking difficulties or a lack of expression of species-specific behaviours. Enriching their environment may be a way to improve their...

Injurious pecking, commonly controlled by beak trimming (BT), is a widespread issue in laying hens associated with thwarted foraging. This controlled study compared the effect in intact and beak-trimmed pullets of providing pecking pans to...

There is consensus that the quality of the human–animal relationship (HAR) is relevant to guarantee appropriate levels of animal welfare. Given the impact that HAR may have on both goats and human beings, the aim...

Social housing for dairy calves has a range of benefits for social development, yet there is limited understanding of how social bonds form early in life. We characterized effects of early life social contact on...

Hens in free-range systems are given enrichments to increase foraging and limit injurious pecking, but the efficacy of enrichment types requires investigation. We studied hen behaviour and feather cover in eight commercial free-range flocks each...

Our objectives were to evaluate the effect of stationary brush quantity on brush use and competition in weaned dairy heifers naïve to brushes. Sixty-three Holstein heifers (95 ± 5.7 days old) were housed in groups...

In mammals, positive tactile contact is recognized as an effective tool for triggering positive affective states. In this study, we investigated the benefits of providing automatic rotative brushes for group-housed horses. Our three aims were...

An important behavioral need for laying hens is perching, but few studies have investigated perching behavior in commercial broiler breeder pullets. The aim of this study was to investigate perching behavior throughout the pullet period...

Domestic pet dogs typically spend a large amount of time inside the home environment, including hours alone. An audio/food dispensing automated device (an artificial agent, hereafter agent) was evaluated for enrichment potential. The agent issued...

Housing unweaned calves individually in barren environments negatively affects their growth, cognitive ability, and adaptability to environmental changes in later life. Social housing has been shown to improve those aspects, whereas physical environmental enrichment has...

There is public interest for the welfare of dogs that spend at least part of their lives housed in kennel facilities, such as working, shelter and sporting dogs. The impacts of living in environments that...

Feather pecking remains a serious problem in poultry farming. This study aimed to identify risk factors for plumage damage as a proxy for feather pecking, and the predictive value of practical animal-based parameters. Data were...

One way to reduce fear and lack of compliance during veterinary procedures is ‘cooperative care training’, training animals to voluntarily participate in husbandry and medical care. Here we assessed the effects of cooperative care training...

The welfare of broilers is strongly dependent on the litter material because they spend their life in contact with it. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of alternative litter materials on...

The well-being of animals kept by humans in laboratories, farms, or as pets should always be of the highest importance, and a prerequisite for this is adequate housing. To assess the potential indicators for animal...

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