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. 

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...

Emotional contagion, the ability to feel what other individuals feel without necessarily understanding the feeling or knowing its source, is thought to be an important element of social life. In humans, emotional contagion has been...

Provision of rooting material as enrichment for pigs has been primarily oriented towards reducing negative affect (suffering). Information is also needed on the impact of different types of rooting materials in promoting positive affect (pleasure)...

When individuals exchange helpful acts reciprocally, increasing the benefit of the receiver can enhance its propensity to return a favour, as pay-offs are typically correlated in iterated interactions. Therefore, reciprocally cooperating animals should consider the...

Animals’ tail posture and motion play an important role in communication, amongst others. In domestic pigs, the debate around tail docking and tail biting has made the tail an important research topic, and tail-related behaviour...

The aim of this review is to summarize evidence regarding rat emotional experiences during carbon dioxide (CO2) exposure. The studies reviewed show that CO2 exposure is aversive to rats, and that rats respond to CO2...

Societal concerns about animal welfare have triggered the movement of gestating sows from individual stalls to group housing in many countries. Common methods of assessing sow welfare focus on overt physical ailments, and potentially neglect...

This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...

The neurobiological response to gentle touch remains poorly understood, especially in the context of human-animal interaction. A novel approach allowed recording the pig electroencephalogram (EEG) cranially epidurally and wirelessly during positive interactions with a human...

In the past, there was a strong focus on avoiding or reducing negative animal welfare in animal experimentation. Recently, the importance of promoting positive animal welfare in laboratory animals has been highlighted. To ensure and...

There is no clear relationship between crying and depression based on human neuropsychiatric observations. This situation originates from lack of suitable animal models of human crying. In the present article, an attempt will be made...

Environmental enrichment provides physiological and emotional benefits to laboratory rodents. Red tinted shelters are a common enrichment found in laboratories that provide rodents with a hiding space shielded from bright light. Red tinting alters the...

The inclusion of emotional indicators in farm monitoring methods can improve welfare assessments. Studies in controlled conditions have suggested that increased tail movement is an indicator of positive emotions in pigs, while others have proposed...

A host of scholarly work has characterized the positive effects of exercise and environmental enrichment on behaviour and cognition in animal studies. The purpose of this study was to investigate the uptake and longitudinal impact...

The environment that laboratory animals are housed in should reflect their natural habitats in a manner that can satisfy their innate physiological and behavioural needs. This includes nest building, hiding, exploring and foraging. Providing environmental...

Metabolic cages are a type of housing used in biomedical research. Metabolic cage housing has been demonstrated to elicit behavioural and physiological changes in rodents housed within them. The nature of this effect has been...

Ample studies have shown that housing can affect the health, welfare and behavior of mice and therefore, the outcomes of certain experiments. The aim of this study was to investigate if three widely used housing...

The assessment and provision of welfare in farm animals has become a major issue in animal science. A key element for providing good welfare is the enabling of positive affective states in the animals. As...

Laboratory rats are usually kept in relatively small cages, but research has shown that they prefer larger and more complex environments. The physiological, neurological and health effects of standard laboratory housing are well established, but...

Rats express affective states by visible behaviors (like approach or flight) and through different kinds of ultrasonic vocalizations (USV). 50-kHz calls are thought to reflect positive affective states since they occur during rewarding situations like...

The detection and assessment of pain in animals is crucial to improving their welfare in a variety of contexts in which humans are ethically or legally bound to do so. Thus clear standards to judge...

In mammals, helping is preferentially provided to members of one’s own group. Yet, it remains unclear how social experience shapes pro-social motivation. We found that rats helped trapped strangers by releasing them from a restrainer...

The study of emotions in animals is of increasing importance to a number of disciplines such as animal welfare science and affective neuroscience. Pigs are a common farm animal species, most often reared in intensive...

Rats are one of the most commonly used species in research, and decades of testing have yielded a large amount of information pertaining to their experience of emotion. The aim of this review is to...

For the welfare of group-housed animals, such as pigs, the emotional state of an individual pig is relevant, but also the extent to which pen mates are affected by the distress or pleasure of other...

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