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. 
Background: Conventional methods for individually housing, training, and testing rodents in behavioral assays can impose constraints that may limit some kinds of experimental external validity, preempt environmental enrichment, impose heavy experimenter time burdens that limit...
To assess the welfare of captive animals, validated measures, so-called ‘welfare indicators’, are required. We used a triangulation approach to investigate the extent to which different measures converged to provide corroborating evidence of welfare. Laying...
Stress during handling can negatively impact the welfare of an animal. Gradual habituation or systematic desensitisation can reduce this but is not always possible. Blindfolding has been shown to decrease stress indicators, including heart rate...
Abnormal behaviour in captive animals is both pervasive and ambiguous. Although individual differences are central to the field of animal welfare, studies on abnormal behaviour predominantly employ quantitative, population-level approaches. For example, whereas previous studies...
In this study, a pig toilet was installed on an organic pig farm, which enabled pigs to use a lying area littered with straw and keep it clean. The pig toilet was separated into a...
The main conditions and diseases considered painful in dairy cows are mastitis, lameness, calving (including dystocia and caesarean section) and metritis. The cattle literature reports that deviation from normal daily activity patterns (both increased and/or...
In the United States swine industry, preweaning mortality represents the highest mortality rate of any production phase, nearly half attributed to crushing. The overarching aim of this study was to determine if enrichment ropes would...
Little is known on the effect of light on pig behaviour. The choice behaviour of weaned piglets kept under two different light-emitting diode (LED) illuminance levels was investigated: 32 piglets (in two batches) were housed...
Extreme sunlight might be aversive to free-range laying hens, discouraging them from going outside. Range enrichment with artificial shelters may protect hens from sunlight and increase range use. The preferences of 34–40-week-old Hy-Line Brown laying...
Increased environmental complexity can improve animal welfare, depending on the resources provided and use by the animal. We provided chickens either with physical items that posed no biosecurity risk and were inexpensive (balls, chains, perches...
Enrichment during the indoor rearing of pullets destined for free-range systems may optimize pullet development including increasing motivated natural behaviors (termed ‘positive behaviors’) including foraging, dust bathing and chick play. Hy-Line Brown® chicks (n =...
A negative human-animal relationship (HAR) from the perspective of the animal is a limiting factor affecting farm animal welfare, as well as farm animal productivity. Research in farm animals has elucidated sequential relationships between stockperson...
Environmental enrichment has been widely studied in rodents, but there is no consensus on what enrichment should look like or what it should achieve. Inconsistent use of the term “enrichment” creates challenges in drawing conclusions...
Accelerometers offer unique opportunities to study the behaviour of cryptic animals but require validation to show their accuracy in identifying behaviours. This validation is often undertaken in captivity before use in the wild. While zoos...
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...
In conventional rearing systems, fast-growing broiler chickens commonly experience welfare issues, such as contact dermatitis, walking difficulties or a lack of expression of species-specific behaviours. Enriching their environment may be a way to improve their...
Injurious pecking, commonly controlled by beak trimming (BT), is a widespread issue in laying hens associated with thwarted foraging. This controlled study compared the effect in intact and beak-trimmed pullets of providing pecking pans to...
There is consensus that the quality of the human–animal relationship (HAR) is relevant to guarantee appropriate levels of animal welfare. Given the impact that HAR may have on both goats and human beings, the aim...
Social housing for dairy calves has a range of benefits for social development, yet there is limited understanding of how social bonds form early in life. We characterized effects of early life social contact on...
A shelter is a good habitat for aquatic organisms, which could aid in avoiding cannibalism and facilitate predation. Chinese Mitten Crab (Eriocheir sinensis) is an important aquaculture species with troglodytism and nocturnal habit. To clarify...
The threat of foreign animal disease introduction through contaminated animal products, feed ingredients, and wildlife vectors have highlighted the need for additional approved methods for mass depopulation of swine under emergency scenarios, especially methods that...
Hens in free-range systems are given enrichments to increase foraging and limit injurious pecking, but the efficacy of enrichment types requires investigation. We studied hen behaviour and feather cover in eight commercial free-range flocks each...
Our objectives were to evaluate the effect of stationary brush quantity on brush use and competition in weaned dairy heifers naïve to brushes. Sixty-three Holstein heifers (95 ± 5.7 days old) were housed in groups...
There are instances when animals are introduced and expected to live alongside unfamiliar conspecifics within zoos, laboratories and wildlife sanctuaries. These pairings of unfamiliar animals may result in stress, trauma, or even death, in addition...
Developing effective enrichments is important for improving pig (Sus scrofa) welfare as it increases species-specific behaviours, decreases abnormal behaviours, and increases time active. However, few enrichments are available for sows in farrowing crates. Pigs are...

Share This!