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. 
Animal welfare is important for the humane treatment of animals under our care. Zoos and rescue centres manage various charismatic animals, such as big cats, with limited resources. It is therefore essential for caretakers to...
The behavior of animals is related to their health and welfare status. The latter plays a particular role in animal experiments, where continuous monitoring is essential for animal welfare. In this study, we focus on...
There is increasing recognition that farm animal welfare standards should ensure positive welfare, as well as prevent negative welfare. Resources that are valued by an animal and that provide opportunities to engage in motivated behaviours...
The monitoring of animals under human care is a crucial tool for biologists and zookeepers to keep track of the animals’ physical and psychological health. Additionally, it enables the analysis of observed behavioral changes and...
With age, primates’ activity levels and ease of movement may decline and changes in locomotory behaviour may reflect changes in health. Thus, developing quick and reliable measures of movement has important applications for measuring recovery...
General anesthesia as used for rodent research can have adverse effects on physiologic mechanisms. Thermoregulation is often greatly inhibited, with resultant deleterious effects on cardiac and respiratory function. These potential effects can be mitigated by...
There are an estimated half-a-million Plains Bison (Bison bison) present in North America in commercial and conservation herds. Most bison are rounded up and “worked” annually for parasite control, veterinarian attention, and processing, making it...
South Africa has many fenced reserves harbouring small to medium sized populations of African elephant (Loxodonta africana), most of which have been translocated. Elephants on fenced reserves may be exposed to various management interventions and...
Self-directed behavior, such as self-scratching (hereafter, scratching), occurs in several taxa across the animal kingdom, including nonhuman primates. There is substantial evidence that scratching is an indicator of anxiety-like emotions in a variety of nonhuman...
The stall-housing system is commonly used in the modern swine industry in many countries; however, long-term space restrictions can cause affective and physiological abnormalities in sows. The pupil light reflex (PLR) can reflect the psychological...
Recent years have witnessed major advances in the ability of computerized systems to track the positions of animals as they move through large and unconstrained environments. These systems have so far been a great boon...
Proper methods of assessment to objectively identify pain are essential for welfare improvements of piglets undergoing surgical castration on commercial farms. The Piglet Grimace Scale (PGS) is used to identify changes in facial expressions caused...
Research primates may undergo surgical procedures making effective pain management essential to ensure good animal welfare and unbiased scientific data. Adequate pain mitigation is dependent on whether veterinarians, technicians, researchers, and caregivers can recognize and...
The occurrence of tail biting is one of the most important animal welfare problems in pig farming and needs to be recognised early to reduce injuries and suffering. The posture of the tail could be...
Rabbits are frequently used as surgical models in research. However, studies assessing the effects of various hair removal methods on wound healing and surgical site infection (SSI) in rabbits are sparse. Here we evaluated the...
The intense nature of pig production has increased the animals’ exposure to stressful conditions, which may be detrimental to their welfare and productivity. Some of the most common sources of stress in pigs are extreme...
Changes in facial expression provide cues for assessing emotional states in mammals and may provide non-verbal signals of pain. This study uses geometric morphometrics (GMM) to explore the facial shape variation in female Japanese macaques...
The precise identification of postural behavior plays a crucial role in evaluation of animal welfare and captive management. Deep learning technology has been widely used in automatic behavior recognition of wild and domestic fauna species...
Captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are well-documented as being prone to behavioural disorders and, as a result, their welfare is the cause of increasing concern. There is therefore a need for an evidence-based approach to...
This study aimed to apply a protocol for assessing camel welfare, to develop a scoring system for the welfare measures, to produce overall assessment indices, and to classify the animal units (i.e., pens) according to...
Steroid-induced osteonecrosis of the femoral head (SONFH) is a condition documented in humans and animals exposed to chronic steroid administration. The rabbit has become a preferred animal model for investigating the pathogenesis and treatment of...
The aim of this study was to develop and describe a protocol for assessing welfare in camels reared in intensive or semi-intensive systems. A literature review was conducted searching for scientific papers on assessment of...
Confinement to farrowing crates is known to prevent sows from performing natural behavior, impairing animal welfare and possibly causing chronic stress. Hair cortisol analyses are increasingly used to detect chronic stress in animals. In the...
Vocalizations are used by group-living animals as aggressive and submissive signals during agonistic interactions, and are also used to maintain dominance hierarchies in many species. For gregarious strepsirrhines with large vocal repertoires and differentiated dominance...
Attention bias is a new approach to assessing animal affect that has shown promising results in several animal species. It describes a tendency to preferentially attend to emotional compared to neutral cues and is influenced...

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