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. 

People often express concern for the welfare of farm animals, but research on this topic has relied upon self-report. Facial expressions provide a quantifiable measure of emotional response that may be less susceptible to social...

Previous positive interactions with humans may ameliorate the stress response of farm animals to aversive routine practices such as painful or stressful procedures, particularly those associated with stockpeople. We studied the effects of positive handling...

Farm animals can perceive humans positively by observing another animal being positively handled. This study evaluated whether pigs acquire a positive perception of humans after observing either a high or low socially ranked conspecific receiving...

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...

Enriching the life of farm animals is a legal obligation in intensive farming conditions in the European Union, though not worldwide. In pigs, manipulable materials are mandatory when no bedding is available. Like manipulable objects...

In order to investigate the effect of gentle handling on the behavior, performance, and meat quality of pigs from weaning to slaughter, 144 6-week-old weaned hybrid Min piglets (a native breed) were selected and divided...

Gentle tactile stimuli have been shown to play an important role in the establishment and maintenance of affiliative social interactions. Oxytocin has also been shown to have similar actions. We investigated the effects of gentle...

Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...

Physical touch can help to decrease the effects of stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of tactile stimulation on the hormonal and behavioral responses of young adult rats submitted to...

Pet rabbit welfare is a hidden crisis: Inappropriately housed, fed, and not routinely provided healthcare—rabbits can often suffer painful conditions and shortened lifespans. This study provides novel understanding of owners’ perceptions of rabbits’ mental capabilities...

Despite evidence for rat tickling’s animal welfare benefits, the technique is rarely implemented in part because of a lack of training. This study’s purpose was to determine the efficacy of online-only or online + hands-on...

Becton Dickinson (BD) Animal Research Program developed an extensive training and environmental enrichment program to acclimate newly arrived swine to daily husbandry routines. The program seeks to build trust between swine and animal care and...

Family dogs (Canis familiaris) seek human contact from an early age, can discriminate and prefer their caregivers over other humans. To investigate if being kept as a family animal is sufficient to induce similar early...

It is now widely recognised that a positive human-animal relationship is beneficial not only for farm animals’ welfare but also for productivity and the quality of products. A better understanding of animal emotions is an...

The human-pig relationship develops through visual, tactile, olfactory, and auditory interactions. Our objective was to determine the effect of human voices on the development of the human-pig relationship. We hypothesised that human voice facilitates the...

Laboratory rat welfare is critically influenced by laboratory animal personnel through their implementation, or lack of implementation, of various enrichment techniques. One such promising technique is heterospecific play, or “rat tickling”, which mimics aspects of...

This article investigates the barriers to implementing higher caging in animal research establishments in the UK. The use of animals in research and testing in the UK is regulated by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act...

The neurobiological response to gentle touch remains poorly understood, especially in the context of human-animal interaction. A novel approach allowed recording the pig electroencephalogram (EEG) cranially epidurally and wirelessly during positive interactions with a human...

Vocal communication is of major social importance in pigs. Their auditory sensitivity goes beyond the intraspecific level; studies have shown that domestic pigs are sensitive to and can learn to recognise human voices. The question...

Laboratory rats may experience stress during handling which can reduce their welfare. Rat tickling, a handling technique that mimics aspects of rat rough-and-tumble play, has been found to induce positive affect based on production of...

Scientists as well as farmers are increasingly interested in the mental capacities of pigs. Recent research has revealed surprising cognitive abilities, such as episodic memory, intentional deception and even theory of mind. Still, our knowledge...

Anticipatory behaviour describes the actions taken to prepare for an upcoming event. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in captivity are known to display anticipatory behaviours before feeding sessions, but it is unknown whether they would anticipate...

Rats find initial interactions with humans frightening, which can lead to negative affect, and poor welfare. A handling technique called “tickling”, which mimics rat rough-and-tumble play, can be used to reduce these negative effects. When...

Gray parrots (Psittacus erithacus) are popular companion birds, particularly noted for their ability to mimic human speech, their intelligence, and longevity. They are also prone to developing abnormal behaviors such as feather damaging behavior. This...

Understanding human-animal interactions in livestock production systems is crucial for improving animal welfare. It is therefore of general interest to investigate how livestock animals obtain information from humans. By using an object-choice paradigm, we investigated...

Share This!