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. 

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...

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)...

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...

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...

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...

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...

In intensive pig farming of Western and Southern Europe, welfare concerns are still often related to barren environments and crowded conditions. Pig producers need to balance the requirements to improve welfare conditions at farm with...

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...

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...

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...

We studied how space allowance affects measures of animal welfare in mice by systematically varying group size and cage type across three levels each in both males and females of two strains of mice (C57BL/6ByJ...

Lack of environmental enrichment and high stocking densities in growing-finishing pigs can lead to adverse social behaviors directed to pen mates, resulting in skin lesions, lameness, and tail biting. The objective of the study was...

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...

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of chamber stocking rate on facets of animal welfare and efficacy during euthanasia of weaned pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) with argon gas. Two hundred and...

In intensive pig farming of Western and Southern Europe, welfare concerns are still often related to barren environments and crowded conditions. Pig producers need to balance the requirements to improve welfare conditions at farm with...

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...

Recent studies suggest that emotional state can affect cognitive abilities of humans and non-human animals, determining biases in information processing. Negative mental states, such as anxiety or depression, induce pessimistic judgments of ambiguous stimuli. These...

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...

For groups of pigs to cope adequately with their housing conditions they need sufficient static space (occupied by the body of the pig), activity space (for movement between different functional areas and behaviours relating to...

In the majority of countries where there are legislative requirements pertaining to the use of animals in research, figures are quoted for minimum cage sizes or space allocation to be provided per animal. These figures...

To quantify the combined effect of housing conditions and environmental enrichment on the behaviour and performance of pigs, a meta-analysis was performed using information from 45 experiments in 42 published manuscripts. Multiple regression models were...

The aim of this study was to assess the effects of specific regimens of enrichment on the behaviour of C57BL/6J mice in the elevated plus-maze test (EPM). A total of 192 male C57BL/6J mice were...

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been reported to play important roles in the modulation of anxiety, mood stabilizers, and pathophysiology of affective disorders. Recently, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the BDNF gene (Val66Met) has...

The experiment aimed to investigate the effect of type of rooting material and space allowance on explorative and abnormal behaviour in growing pigs. Thirty-six pens with partly slatted concrete floor were allocated to one of...

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