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. 
In dairy industry, quality of produced milk must be more important than quantity without a high somatic cells count (SCC) or pathogens causing mastitis of dairy cows and consumer diseases. Preserving the good health of...
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...
The study of human–animal interactions has provided insights into the welfare of many species. To date, however, research has largely focused on human relationships with captive mammals, with relatively little exploration of interactions between humans...
Weaning calves at a young age can generate great stress, but it is widely practiced in the industry despite that. So, to what extend weaning in early ages is more stressful than at later ones...
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...
Animal personality, the consistent between-individual differences in e.g., risk-taking, exploration, antipredator or mating behaviours, has major impacts on the fitness of individuals in many species. Understanding how to quantify animal personality should help us predicting...
There is an interest in alternative rearing systems that allow for prolonged cow-calf contact (CCC). Yet, a better understanding of cows’ affiliative behaviour in those systems is needed. We evaluated the effect of type of...
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...
Maternal deprivation early in life has been shown to disrupt neonates’ development. Nevertheless, separating the young animals from their dams soon after birth remains a common practice in dairy farm husbandry. This study investigated the...
Early cow–calf separation management induced various welfare problems for dairy calves. We mimicked the maternal licking by manually brushing right after the Holstein female calves were born and during their first week of life, termed...
Personality is often defined as the behaviour of individual animals that is consistent across contexts and over time. Personality traits may become unstable during stages of ontogeny from infancy to adulthood, especially during major periods...
Animals are likely to appraise events as positive or negative based on their subjective perception, current state and past experiences. We tested the effects of anticipating positive (food anticipation), negative (inaccessible food) and neutral (clicker...
Weaning from milk is stressful. We aimed to investigate the effect of three weaning strategies on feed intake and behavior of dairy goat kids. Forty-five, 3-month-old Saanen cross goats were allocated to one of three...
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...
Plasma concentrations of progesterone (P4) and 17β‐oestradiol (E2) in juvenile, pre‐ovulatory, early, mid‐ or late pregnancy stages of female blue sharks Prionace glauca were analysed. Concentrations of P4 were significantly higher in pregnant than in...
Here we describe the behaviour of a female blonde capuchin (Sapajus flavius) towards her dead infant and discuss possible explanations linked to the anecdotal event. We conducted our study in a fragment of Atlantic forest...
Husbandry procedures may cause behavioral and physiological changes to animals living in captivity. However, an individual’s reaction is not uniform and may be related to different coping strategies. In this study, we analyzed whether and...
Pain induces deficits in appreciation of rewards (i.e. anhedonia) and variation in response to pain may be partly explained by individual differences in general expectations (i.e. optimism). Dairy calves are routinely subjected to painful procedures...
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...
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...
Isolation during calving is a common dairy cow behavior, however it has not been examined in large outdoor group settings. The provision of “hides” was monitored for its impact on calving location and cow–calf behavior...
The welfare impact of birth on newborn calves has rarely been studied. Dystocia in particular may have significant welfare costs for calves. While analgesia is sometimes provided to calves born to difficult parturition by veterinary...
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...
Understanding the emotions of dairy cows is primarily important in enhancing the level of welfare and provide a better life on farm. This study explored whether eye white and ear posture can reliably contribute to...

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