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. 
Background: Conventional methods for individually housing, training, and testing rodents in behavioral assays can impose constraints that may limit some kinds of experimental external validity, preempt environmental enrichment, impose heavy experimenter time burdens that limit...
Improving the housing of pregnant sows by giving them more space and access to deep straw had positive effects on their welfare, influenced their maternal behavior and improved the survival of their offspring. The present...
Small animal models are frequently used to improve our understanding of the molecular and biological signaling pathways underlying the beneficial effects of physical activity and exercise. Unfortunately, when running wheels are employed, mice and rats...
Since January 2019, surgical castration of male piglets must be performed using local anaesthesia, if farmers deliver pigs to the primary exporting slaughterhouses according to the “Danish quality scheme”; a voluntary initiative taken by the...
For the production and rederivation of mouse strains, pseudopregnant female mice are used for embryo transfer and serve as surrogate mothers to support embryo development to term. Vasectomized males are commonly used to render pseudopregnancy...
We investigated how providing chewable materials to piglets during the early weeks of life affect sow behaviour, sow and piglet interaction and sow health in pens with farrowing crates. We divided 59 pregnant sows into...
Castration has been demonstrated to cause pain in sheep. However, it is routinely performed for management purposes. Electroencephalography (EEG) has been used successfully to measure pain in lambs in response to castration and other husbandry...
The aim of this study was to investigate whether the well-known positive effects of immunocastration on the behavior and welfare of pigs persist under varying environments. One hundred forty-four male pigs were studied with regard...
Piglet mortality, especially due to crushing, is a concern in pig production. While current systems use farrowing crates to reduce mortality, they present major animal welfare problems for the sow. This study investigated the effects...
The pygmy hog (Porcula salvania), until recently was classified as a critically endangered suid facing the threat of extinction due to habitat degradation. Efforts are being made to protect the pygmy hog from extinction and...
Pain causes behavioral, autonomic, and neuroendocrine changes and is a common cause of animal welfare compromise in farm animals. Current societal and ethical concerns demand better agricultural practices and improved welfare for food animals. These...
The recognition of novel objects is a common cognitive test for rodents, but current paradigms have limitations, such as low sensitivity, possible odor confounds and stress due to being performed outside of the homecage. We...
Pregnancy diagnosis and embryo counting are important end points in reproductive, developmental biology and toxicology studies. The purpose of the present study was to assess the feasibility and efficacy of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for...
Laboratory mouse pups are commonly weaned between postnatal day 21–28. Utilization of an exact wean date postpartum is a concrete metric for mouse colony management, but variation can result such as: developmental differences among genetically...
Rats (Rattus norvegicus) bred for research are typically confined with their litters until weaning, but will spend time away from pups when given the opportunity. We aimed to assess how dam welfare is affected by...
Docking the tail of lambs is a standard husbandry procedure and is achieved through several techniques including clamps, hot or cold knives and latex rings, the last of which is the most popular. All tail...
Perinatal mortality is a major issue in laboratory mouse breeding. We compared a counting method using daily checks (DAILY_CHECK) with a method combining daily checks with detailed video analyses to detect cannibalisms (VIDEO_TRACK) for estimating...
Increased attention on the effects of the global push for a larger litter size has focused on the increased occurrence of piglets with decreased viability, which have lighter birthweights and a reduced ability to thrive...
Piglet castration results in acute pain and stress to the animal. There is a critical need for effective on-farm methods of pain mitigation. Local anaesthesia using Tri-Solfen® (Animal Ethics Pty Ltd., Melbourne, Australia), a topical...
Burlap has been proposed as an enrichment option for the conventional farrowing crate environment. Our objectives were to determine if burlap sheets hung in farrowing crates were used by sows and piglets and had any...
Mice (Mus musculus) have a high basal rate of metabolism which increases during pregnancy and lactation. During peak lactation, water intake amounts to up to 65 % of the bodyweight per day. Providing water in...
The use of local anesthesia at the time of ring castration and tail docking can improve lamb welfare. However, few local anesthetics are registered for sheep, and data on their duration of effect is limited...
Faecal soiling is one of the welfare indicators in the AWIN welfare assessment protocol for sheep (Ovis aries) and is measured by dag scores. Studies on dag scoring for ewes with docked and undocked tails...
Australian sheep routinely undergo painful surgical husbandry procedures without anaesthesia or analgesia. Electroencephalography (EEG) has been shown to be a successful measure of pain in livestock under a general anaesthetic. The aim of this study...

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