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. 
Traditionally Göttingen minipigs are restrained in dorsal recumbency to have access to the blood vessels in the neck. Minipigs, like any other animal do not particularly like to be restrained and being turned on their...
Ecological studies on the critically endangered European eel Anguilla anguilla often incorporate stable isotope analysis that typically uses dorsal muscle sampled from euthanised eels. To minimise the lethal sampling of imperilled populations, fin tissue and/or...
Pregnant sows in the confined environment have poor welfare and frequently perform stereotypic behaviors. In order to clarify whether highly stereotypic behavior is a sign of increased stress and successfully contributes to coping with or...
Wild robust capuchins (Sapajus spp.) are omnivorous neotropical primates that live in relatively large groups in extensive home and daily ranges with activity budgets dominated by traveling, foraging, and object manipulation, meaning that enclosed spaces...
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...
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...
Despite how frequently stereotypic behaviours are discussed in the field of animal behaviour and welfare, research on stereotypies in captive elasmobranchs is far less represented in the literature compared to studies on mammalian species. This...
During the development of potential new medicines or agrochemicals, an assessment of the safety profile to humans and environmental species is conducted using a range of different in silico and in vitro techniques in conjunction...
Eight pens (25 pigs/pen; n = 200) provided with an interactive straw-filled rooting tower (experimental group) and five pens (25 pigs/pen; n = 125) with a stationary (fixed) tower without straw (control group) were compared...
Tail biting in pigs is a damaging behaviour and remains an economic and welfare problem in modern pig production. Although tail biting has been extensively investigated, little is known about the behaviour in piglets. The...
Wildlife research has been indispensable for increasing our insight into ecosystem functioning as well as for designing effective conservation measures under the currently high rates of biodiversity loss. Genetic and genomic analyses might be able...
The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of reduced stocking density in combination with provision of additional enrichment material on pig welfare on-farm. On three growing-finishing farms in Austria, in total 974...
To establish whether pig tail posture is affected by injuries and ill health, a machine vision system using 3D cameras to measure tail angle was used. Camera data from 1692 pigs in 41 production batches...
The occurrence of stereotypies in captive animals may indicate restrictions in animal welfare. In cattle, common stereotypies are tongue playing, manipulation of objects, or conspecifics. However, to our knowledge, the occurrence of stereotypies in fattening...
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...
Housing systems and environmental features can influence beef cattle welfare. To date, little information has been synthesized on this topic. The aim of this scoping review was to examine the relationship between housing and welfare...
The aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of environmental enrichment (EE), in the form of a cattle brush, on feedlot cattle behavior, productivity and stress physiology. Steers were blocked by weight...
Blood sampling through the caudal vasculature is a widely used technique in fish biology for investigating organismal health and physiology. In live fishes, it can provide a quick, easy and relatively non‐invasive method for obtaining...
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...
Fish models are essential for research in many biological and medical disciplines. With a typical lifespan of only 6 months, the turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) was recently established as a time- and cost-efficient model to...
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...

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