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. 

The concept of the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement) has been used as a framework for improving the welfare of laboratory animals for the last half century. By establishing an animal-centric view on housing and...

Housing management of dairy calves is one of the factors that contributes to a successful rearing outcome. Individual housing of pre-weaned calves is thought to provide enhanced biosecurity and easier monitoring of the individual, and...

The objective of this study was to determine the effects of social housing, the provision of physical enrichment, and the interaction between the two on calf growth, behaviour and fearfulness. Forty-eight calves were randomly allocated...

Much of the research done on aging, oxidative stress, anxiety, and cognitive and social behavior in rodents has focused on caloric restriction (CR). This often involves several days of single housing, which can cause numerous...

Introduction: Single housing of laboratory mice is a common practice to meet experimental needs, or to avoid intermale aggression. However, single housing is considered to negatively affect animal welfare and may compromise the scientific validity...

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of pair versus individual housing on performance, health, and behavior of dairy calves. Thirty female Holstein dairy calves were assigned to individual (n = 10)...

Personality is often defined as the behaviour of individual animals that is consistent across contexts and over time. Personality traits may become unstable during stages of ontogeny from infancy to adulthood, especially during major periods...

Little research has been carried out into how guinea pigs are cared for in the UK, and information regarding potential welfare issues is sparse. This study was designed to examine the five welfare needs, collecting...

Research has demonstrated that stress can exacerbate AD pathology in transgenic mouse models of AD. The purpose of the present studies was to extend this work by determining whether a social stressor, isolation stress, would...

Housing systems and environmental features can influence beef cattle welfare. To date, little information has been synthesized on this topic. The aim of this scoping review was to examine the relationship between housing and welfare...

When mice are grouped together for the first time, it is a novel experience filled with new sights and smells that will stress the animal too much and may cause aggression. By adding a mirror...

Calves reared on pasture learn to graze from their dam and conspecifics during weaning. Social learning can be beneficial for calf performance and welfare, and pair-housing and companionship on pasture have been proposed as management...

The quality of the social environment should be studied as one of the welfare components of dairy herds. Licking and preference between cows are important socio-positive experiences in this context.The aims of this study were...

Laboratory male mice are often housed individually due to aggressive behavior or experimental requirements, though social isolation can cause welfare issues. As a strategy to refine housing of male mice, we introduce the separated pair...

Poor reproducibility is considered a serious problem in laboratory animal research, with important scientific, economic, and ethical implications. One possible source of conflicting findings in laboratory animal research are environmental differences between animal facilities combined...

This is the 5th volume of selected discussions that took place on the electronic Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum between February 2016 and December 2019. The forum was created in October 2002; it allows...

The use of millions of mice in scientific studies worldwide emphasises the continuing need for a reduction of sample sizes, however, not at the expense of scientific validity. Split-plot designs have been suggested to enhance...

Injurious home-cage aggression (fighting) in mice affects both animal welfare and scientific validity. It is arguably the most common potentially preventable morbidity in mouse facilities. Existing literature on mouse aggression almost exclusively examines territorial aggression...

This study aimed at assessing whether a reduction in stocking density (SKD) would mitigate lameness and positively affect the performance and health of Charolais bulls in an Italian commercial farm. Bulls were distributed in groups...

For gregarious species such as domestic cattle, the social environment is a very important determinant of their welfare and fitness. Understanding the complexity of cows' relationships can assist the development of management practices that are...

Rearing laboratory mice in groups is important since social isolation after weaning induces brain alterations, which entails behavioral abnormalities in adulthood. Age is an important factor when grouping males of different litters due to inter-male...

According to international housing recommendations, fattening bulls should not be housed in groups of more than 12–20 animals. However, there are no scientific studies supporting these recommendations as most studies on fattening cattle refer to...

The basic question as to whether male laboratory mice should be singly or group housed represents a major animal welfare concern within current laboratory animal legislation and husbandry. To better understand the behavioural and physiological...

Dairy calves are often housed in individual pens, which limits play behaviour. This study investigates whether the motivation for social play builds up during periods of deprivation hereof. Sixteen mixed-sex pairs of calves (33 ±...

Compared to female mice raised in large, environmentally enriched (EE) cages, those from “shoebox” non-enriched (NE) cages demonstrate more stereotypic behaviour (SB) and depressive-like effects (i.e. learned helplessness; and inactive-but-awake behaviour [IBA], where a mouse...

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