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. 
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...
Heart rate (HR) is a vital bio-signal that is relatively easy to monitor with contact sensors and is related to a living organism’s state of health, stress and well-being. The objective of this study was...
Confinement to farrowing crates is known to prevent sows from performing natural behavior, impairing animal welfare and possibly causing chronic stress. Hair cortisol analyses are increasingly used to detect chronic stress in animals. In the...
The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is working with industry to promote social housing during cardiovascular telemetry recordings within non-rodent safety pharmacology and toxicology studies. Following surveys...
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...
Monitoring the temperature of piglets after birth is critical to ensure their well-being. Rectal temperature measurement is time-consuming, requires fixation of the animal and is stressful for piglets. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness...
Thyroid hormones are essential for metabolism, energy homeostasis and reproduction. Hormones can be measured in various biological source materials: blood, feces, urine, saliva and others. The aim of our study was to verify usefulness of...
Changes in skin mucus production and composition offer a new means to study how fish cope with changes in the environment. We explored the utility of skin mucus as an indicator of physiological responses and...
Appropriate end-points are integral to the refinement of laboratory animal experiments. Our recent experience has highlighted that ambiguity around end-points is hampering their adoption in experiments that cause severe suffering to fish. In toxicology, the...
The advanced development of sensor technologies has led to the emergence of fish biosensors that are currently used for research and commercial purposes. AEFishBIT is a miniaturized biosensor attached to fish operculum that measures physical...
Firmly squeezing the chests of newborn foals and calves that are showing abnormal behaviours after birth causes them to enter a less-responsive state, characterised by lying down with eyes closed and no limb movements. Once...
Whether animals have emotions was historically a long-lasting question but, today, nobody disputes that they do. However, how to assess them and how to guarantee animals their welfare have become important research topics in the...
Describing certain animal behaviours as 'depression-like' or 'depressive' has become common across several fields of research. These typically involve unusually low activity or unresponsiveness and/or reduced interest in pleasure (anhedonia). While the term 'depression-like' carefully...
Livestock animals are sentient beings with cognitive and emotional capacities and their brain development, similar to humans and other animal species, is affected by their surrounding environmental conditions. Current intensive production systems, through the restrictions...
The present study examined whether tail and ear postures in fattening pigs (n = 228) housed in different environments could be suitable for assessing their affective state. In doing so, it investigated the appearance of...
Respirometry has become the standard method for measuring the metabolic rate of fishes. Traditionally, respirometry has required the fish to be kept in captivity and tested under controlled conditions; however, many species do not readily...
Animals show various behavioural, neural and physiological changes in response to losing aggressive encounters. Here, we investigated affective state, which are emotion-like processes influenced by positive or negative experiences, in a territorial fish following aggressive...
Respiratory diseases are a major problem in the pig industry worldwide. Due to the impact of these diseases, the early identification of infected herds is essential. Computer vision technology, using RGB (red, green and blue)...
Measuring vital signs is central to medical practice, but they are difficult to monitor in awake laboratory animals. We examined the feasibility of a noninvasive device [Cortrium C3 device] for telemetric assessment of respiration rate...
Intensive pig management involves in a commercial setting the housing and implementation of certain procedures, such as castration and tail docking, which may be stressful for the animal. Good farming practices include the reduction of...
Animals’ tail posture and motion play an important role in communication, amongst others. In domestic pigs, the debate around tail docking and tail biting has made the tail an important research topic, and tail-related behaviour...
Provision of rooting material as enrichment for pigs has been primarily oriented towards reducing negative affect (suffering). Information is also needed on the impact of different types of rooting materials in promoting positive affect (pleasure)...
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...
European sea bass is a marine teleost which can inhabit a broad range of environmental salinities. So far, no research has studied the physiological response of this fish to salinity challenges using modifications in skin...
Traditional animal welfare paradigms have focused on maintaining physical health and mitigating negative impacts to wellbeing. Recently, however, the field has increasingly recognized the importance of positive welfare (i.e., mental and physical states that exceed...

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