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. 

This study aimed to determine the prevalence of keel bone deviations and feather damage of laying hens in two different free-range housing systems under commercial conditions. Both of the free-range systems had an indoor barn...

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...

Access to pasture is a main benefit of free-range broiler housing systems, yet the level of outdoor stocking density on broiler animal welfare remains unsettled. The growth, feather damage, pasture ranging and behaviors were assessed...

Tail-biting is globally recognized as a welfare concern for commercial swine production. Substantial research has been undertaken to identify risk factors and intervention methods to decrease and understand this vice. Tail-biting appears to be multifactorial...

Feather pecking is a prominent issue in the commercial egg industry, associated with economic losses and welfare problems. A non-systematic literature search suggests that studies on feather pecking are predominantly concerned with applied research goals...

Beak trimming in laying hens limits the negative consequences of injurious pecking, but could be prohibited by future regulations. This study assessed a combination of management strategies during the rearing period (objects, perches, music, human...

Broiler breeders are feed-restricted during rearing to avoid the negative consequences of obesity during lay due to their genetic potential for fast growth rate. Feed restriction leads to chronic hunger, frustration and lack of satiety...

We investigated the effect of different farrowing systems on the behavior of sows and piglets. In total, 22 hybrid sows (Yorkshire × Landrace) were randomly assigned into three farrowing systems, farrowing crate (FC), free farrowing...

The present study aimed at introducing a reliable and more feasible indicator to evaluate stereotypies in sows in comparison with the ‘Welfare Quality® animal welfare assessment protocol for sows and piglets’. Therefore, the indicators for...

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...

This study evaluated the effectiveness of combined dietary and enrichment strategies to manage tail biting in pigs with intact tails in a conventional fully-slatted floor housing system. A 2 × 2 × 2 factorial design...

Weaning and other regrouping events as routine work in commercial farms cause stress to pigs and compromise their welfare. Several studies found positive outcomes to mitigate weaning stress when piglets were socialized (i.e. co-mingled) or...

The most widespread reproductive rhythm practiced in rabbit farming is based on artificial insemination (AI) performed at around 11 days pospartum. This approach results in high production rates, but requires high yearly replacement of animals...

In barren environments of commercial farms, pig often redirect their rooting and chewing behaviours at other pigs, which can lead to tail biting. When materials such as straw are provided, the quantity is usually too...

Tail-biting in pigs affects the health and welfare of the animals. Different indicators, such as the tail posture, can be used to detect tail-biting at an early stage. The aim of this study was to...

Intraspecific coalitional aggression is rare among all species, especially within stable social groups. We report here numerous cases of intraspecific lethal gang aggression within stable groups of domestic pigs. The objective was to describe this...

One of the difficulties in complying with the prohibition of routine tail docking is a lack of effective alternative solutions to prevent tail biting, especially in fully slatted systems. This study compared three slat-compatible enrichment...

In the European research project HealthyHens, welfare indicators as well as husbandry and management conditions were recorded in 107 organic laying hen farms in eight countries. Farms were visited at peak and end of lay...

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of additional enrichment materials (EMs; pecking stones and alfalfa bales) on the occurrence of plumage damage, skin injuries, and toe injuries, with an emphasis on...

Leg problems are highly prevalent in modern broiler production and provision of environmental enrichment could be a strategy to improve leg health. Different types of environmental enrichment have undergone evaluation. Our objective was to conduct...

In fully slatted systems, tail biting is difficult to manage when pigs’ tails are not docked because loose enrichment material can obstruct slurry systems. This pilot study sought to determine: a) whether intact-tailed pigs can...

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...

Aggression in chickens is a serious economic and animal welfare issue in poultry farming. Pigmentation traits have been documented to be associated with animal behaviour. Chicken pecking behaviour has been found to be related to...

Food-animal welfare is a major ethical and social concern. Pork is the most consumed meat worldwide, with over a billion pigs slaughtered annually. Most of these pigs routinely undergo painful surgical procedures (surgical castration, tail...

Feather pecking (FP) is a multifactorial problem in all housing systems. Using a case-control design we wanted to determine a set of variables which may be decisive for a flock to become case or control...

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