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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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)...

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...

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...

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...

Societal concerns about animal welfare have triggered the movement of gestating sows from individual stalls to group housing in many countries. Common methods of assessing sow welfare focus on overt physical ailments, and potentially neglect...

This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...

The inclusion of emotional indicators in farm monitoring methods can improve welfare assessments. Studies in controlled conditions have suggested that increased tail movement is an indicator of positive emotions in pigs, while others have proposed...

Animals come in a huge array of types, species and structures, but without realizing it, we have focused our care on those like us, mammals. They look something like us, so it's easy to empathize...

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...

Adopting a social science perspective and qualitative methodology on the problem of laboratory fish welfare, this paper examines some underlying social factors and drivers that influence thinking, priorities and implementation of fish welfare initiatives and...

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...

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...

Myxoma virus is a member of Leporipoxviridae whose tropism is tightly restricted to lagomorphs. In susceptible Oryctolagus rabbits, the virus causes a highly lethal disease known as myxomatosis, which begins as a localized infection but...

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