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. 
Stress during handling can negatively impact the welfare of an animal. Gradual habituation or systematic desensitisation can reduce this but is not always possible. Blindfolding has been shown to decrease stress indicators, including heart rate...
Vaccinations via intramuscular injection are a key component of preventative health care in horses. Development of problematic behavioral aversion to injections is quite common. Our clinical impression has been that topical anesthetic applied to injection...
Digital dermatitis (DD) is an infectious skin disease in cattle that causes pain and discomfort, significantly impacting animal welfare. Although DD lesions are painful and prone to bleeding when touched, pain resulting from DD has...
We assessed effects of two-step debonding strategies in calf rearing systems with different types of prolonged cow-calf contact (CCC) on stress responses, health and performance of dairy cows and calves. Forty-eight Holstein Friesian cow-calf pairs...
Many wild animals perform hiding behaviours for a variety of reasons, such as evading predators or other conspecifics. Unlike their wild counterparts, farmed animals often live in relatively barren environments without the opportunity to hide...
Confinement and restriction of movement are a reality for most dairy cows. Providing outdoor access is one method to increase movement opportunities. However, leading cows to an outdoor exercise area increases their exposure to manipulations...
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) are an economically and ecologically important fish species that interact with humans during farming, fishing and research operations. Routine handling in nets exposes fish to mesh and causes scale loss. To...
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...
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...
Despite the widely used application of standardized capture-handling protocols to collect blood and assess the physiological stress response, the actual sampling design (e.g., timing and the number of blood samples) often differs between studies, and...
Our objective was to determine the impact of different habituation protocols on beef cattle behavior, physiology, and temperament in response to human handling. Beef heifers were exposed to three habituation strategies: (1) tactile stimulation (brushing)...
Gentle human-animal interactions can induce positive emotions in cattle and enhance their welfare. We investigated whether a change in the animals’ perceived control over the situation influences their perception of the interactions. We compared the...
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...
Digital dermatitis (DD) is an infectious disease affecting the bovine digital skin which can cause lameness and significantly affect animal welfare and economics. Digital dermatitis has emerged in feedlots and early identification of DD lesions...
Cattle are subjected to routine procedures that require restraint and close contact to humans, which are both potentially aversive to the animal. Positive reinforcement training techniques may affect how animals perceive and respond to these...
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...
Given the paucity of published data on the effects of artificial weaning on mares, the aim of the present study was to investigate the behavioral and hormonal effects of two different weaning methods in trotter...
Broodstock rearing conditions and handling procedures should be optimized in aquaculture species in order to benefit fish welfare and guarantee optimal conditions for spawning. In teleosts, basal cortisol levels display daily rhythms, oscillating along the...
Accelerometer-based mobility scoring has focused on cow behaviors such as lying and walking. Accuracy levels as high as 91% have been previously reported. However, there has been limited replication of results. Here, measures previously identified...
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...
Rabbits are popular companion animals. There are numerous welfare issues affecting the majority of the population, including the fact that most rabbits are fearful when handled. Pet Remedy ™ (Unex Designs) is an herbal product...
Endangered whooping cranes (Grus americana ) have been produced in captivity for reintroduction programs since the 1980s, using techniques such as artificial insemination, multiple clutching, and captive‐rearing to speed recovery efforts. Chicks are often hand‐reared...
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...
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...

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