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...
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...
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...
In aquatic ecology, studies have commonly employed a tagging technique known as visible implant elastomer (VIE). This method has not been widely adopted by the zebrafish research community and also lacks refinement with regard to...
Identification marking mice commonly involves ear-punching with or without anaesthetic, or tail-marking with ink. To identify which is most humane, we marked weanling male BALB/c mice using ear-punching (EP), ear-punching with anaesthetic EMLATM cream (EP+A)...
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...
Feather pecking and cannibalism are behavioral disorders that cause animal-welfare-relevant and economic problems. To mitigate these problems, the beaks of conventionally reared turkeys are usually already trimmed in the hatcheries. To find an alternative to...
Severe feather pecking (SFP) is a major animal welfare problem in layers. It results in pain and injuries in the affected animal. It was the aim of this study to gain insight into the actual...
Castration is one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures in livestock. All methods of castration are associated with a significant degree of pain, affecting the patients’ welfare. Limited information on species-specific protocols in buffaloes...
Beak trimming in laying hens limits the negative consequences of injurious pecking, but could be prohibited by future regulations. This study assessed a combination of management strategies during the rearing period (objects, perches, music, human...
Alpacas are increasingly kept in Europe for different purposes including fibre production. Yearly shearing is necessary to harvest fibre and for welfare reasons. Different methods of restraint are used during shearing, which may affect the...
The radial arm maze (RAM) is a common behavioral test to assess spatial working and reference memory in mice. However, conventional RAM experiments require a substantial degree of manual handling and animals are usually subjected...
Tattooing traumatizes the skin, which can result in microbial infections with the severity ranging from minor to life-threating septicemia. Additionally, the metals in colored tattoo ink are known to cause dermal inflammation in some people...
Infrared beak treatment has less of a negative impact on laying hen welfare compared to other methods of beak treatment; however, it is still not fully understood how infrared beak treatment affects the beak tissue...
Demarking individual animals within a group is often required in research. However, the process of invasive tagging induces stress and if a tag becomes detached it may wound the animal and/or prevent identification. Photo identification...
Ear tagging is perceived as less painful or stressful than tattooing and therefore is generally considered less harmful or costly to welfare. However, ear tags are more difficult to read than tattoos and can fall...
Social housing of laboratory rodents is recommended whenever possible to encourage natural behavior and social dynamics. Several identification methods are used to distinguish rodents from one another. One of the most common means of identifying...
A batch of 1 sea winter pre-spawning adult Salmo salar from the Bush river in Northern Ireland, U.K., were gastrically tagged with large (13-mm diameter) and small (9-mm diameter) dummy acoustic telemetry tags alongside untagged...
Adult return rates for wild Atlantic salmon Salmo salar smolts captured in a rotary screw trap and tagged with coded wire (CW) tags were compared with a control group, using detections from passive integrated transponder...
One commonly used method to preserve individual identity in the study of social behavior of zebrafish is through silicone-based visible implant elastomers (VIEs), which represent a safe and durable tagging procedure. While the effects of...
Toe clipping and ear clipping (also ear notching or ear punching) are frequently used methods for individual identification of laboratory rodents. These procedures potentially cause severe discomfort, which can reduce animal welfare and distort experimental...
A number of mutilating procedures, such as dehorning in cattle and goats and beak trimming in laying hens, are common in farm animal husbandry systems in an attempt to prevent or solve problems, such as...
Marmota monax is a valuable laboratory animal species used in studies of Hepatitis B virus (HBV), food intake, obesity, hibernation, and circannual cycles. This article describes the woodchuck’s (also known as groundhog) natural behavior and...
Social housing is recommended where possible for laboratory mice. In order to achieve this, mice must be individually identifiable. Although, various methods are available, permanent identification is often required, such as ear notching. This method...
Severe feather-pecking, whereby birds peck at and pull out the feathers of other birds, is one of the greatest welfare concerns and the most prevalent behavioural problem in laying hens. It can be extremely difficult...

Share This!