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. 
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...
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 =...
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...
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...
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...
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...
An important behavioral need for laying hens is perching, but few studies have investigated perching behavior in commercial broiler breeder pullets. The aim of this study was to investigate perching behavior throughout the pullet period...
Improving welfare is still a critical issue in pig husbandry. Upgrades of the housing environment seem to be a promising solution to optimise resilience as a whole, and therefore improve animal welfare. The objective of...
Mongolian gerbils can develop stereotypic behaviors, including corner digging. At our institution, gerbils also engage in repetitive corner jumping, which we sought to characterize as a potentially novel stereotypy in gerbils. We then attempted to...
Providing novel and creative enrichments for nonhuman primates improves their mental wellbeing and is thus an important aspect of all husbandry programs. These enrichments are often presented through variations in diet, toys, and environmental features...
This traditional snack has a variety of options for NHP enrichment. From fruit to cereals, get creative with the “ants” and remember to consider different fillings for the celery log.
There is a lack of clarity on whether pigs can emotionally respond to musical stimulation and whether that response is related to music structure. Qualitative Behavioral Assessment (QBA) was used to evaluate effects of 16...
Little is known about the impact of social and environmental enrichment on improving livestock resilience, i.e. the ability to quickly recover from perturbations. We evaluated the effect of an alternative housing system (AHS) on resilience...
The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 28 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and share experiences of...
To improve animal welfare in collective park housing systems, this study assessed the effects of the provision of gnawing hay blocks and the group composition (F: females, M: males, FM: mixed sex) on performance, behavior...
This study aimed to determine the effects of providing environmental enrichment materials—pumice stone and alfalfa hay—to laying hens in the aviary system. A total of 2196 40-week-old Hy-Line Brown laying hens were randomly allotted to...
Modern intensive pig breeding harms animal welfare, which is especially noticeable for pregnant sows kept in confinement stalls. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of enrichment items on the movement and physiological parameters of...
Continuing with previous research by our group in an ESF system, four types of enrichment treatments were assessed in gestating sows housed in Free Access Stalls: (1) Constant: constant provision of wood on chain; (2)...
The rearing environment of pigs can cause a high level of stress due to the lack of stimuli and the impossibility of carrying out natural behaviors. Music therapy is a way to enrich the environment...
Unlike for laying hens in most European countries, few broiler breeders have access to perches, and there is a need for more knowledge on perching behavior in broiler breeders. The aim of this study was...
Boredom is an emotional state that occurs when an individual has nothing to do, is not interested in the surrounding, and feels dreary and in a monotony. While this condition is usually defined for humans...
In research using animal models, subjects are commonly maintained under standard housing conditions, mainly because of the idea that enhancing welfare conditions could alter experimental data. Another common practice in many laboratories relates to the...

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