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. 

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...

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...

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...

Pain induces deficits in appreciation of rewards (i.e. anhedonia) and variation in response to pain may be partly explained by individual differences in general expectations (i.e. optimism). Dairy calves are routinely subjected to painful procedures...

Animals are likely to appraise events as positive or negative based on their subjective perception, current state and past experiences. We tested the effects of anticipating positive (food anticipation), negative (inaccessible food) and neutral (clicker...

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...

In commercial flocks of laying hens, keel bone fractures (KBFs) are prevalent and associated with behavioural indicators of pain. However, whether their impact is severe enough to induce a depressive-like state of chronic stress is...

Understanding the emotions of dairy cows is primarily important in enhancing the level of welfare and provide a better life on farm. This study explored whether eye white and ear posture can reliably contribute to...

Applying objective measures to assess the emotional states of animals is an important area of research and essential for improving animal welfare. In this study, we have built upon previous research to test whether ear...

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...

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...

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...

Individual housing of dairy calves is common farm practice, but has negative effects on calf welfare. A compromise between practice and welfare may be housing calves in pairs. We compared learning performances and affective states...

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...

Assessing emotional states of dairy calves is an essential part of welfare assessment, but standardized protocols are absent. The present study aims at assessing the emotional states of dairy calves and establishing a reliable standard...

Responses to ambiguous and aversive stimuli (e.g. via tests of judgment bias and measures of startle amplitude) can indicate mammals’ affective states. We hypothesised that such findings generalize to birds, and that these two responses...

The positive aspect of emotions, like pleasure, remains overlooked in birds. Our aim was to contribute to the exploration of facial indicators of positive emotions. To observe contrasting emotional expressions, we used two lines of...

When measuring animals’ valenced behavioural responses to stimuli, the Conditioned Place Preference (CPP) test goes a step further than many approach-based and avoidance-based tests by establishing whether a learned preference for, or aversion to, the...

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...

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 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...

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...

The presence of a conspecific can ameliorate an individual's stress response. This social buffering is known to be widespread in social mammals but the capacity of birds to act as social buffers has not yet...

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...

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