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. 
Extreme sunlight might be aversive to free-range laying hens, discouraging them from going outside. Range enrichment with artificial shelters may protect hens from sunlight and increase range use. The preferences of 34–40-week-old Hy-Line Brown laying...
Feather pecking remains a serious problem in poultry farming. This study aimed to identify risk factors for plumage damage as a proxy for feather pecking, and the predictive value of practical animal-based parameters. Data were...
As a global society, we have a duty to provide suitable care and conditions for farmed livestock to protect animal welfare and ensure the sustainability of our food supply. The suitability and biological impacts of...
Previously, we housed guinea pigs in pairs, where study design allowed, using RC2R cages (NKP-Isotec). Our change was to house guinea pigs in bigger groups with more space. This resulted in moving the guinea pigs...
Selected technological solutions can impact health status of animals. The aim of this case study was to determine the effect of different housing systems on disease prevalence and the productive lifespan of dairy cows. In...
The scientific community needs objective measures to appropriately assess animal welfare. The study objective was to assess the impact of housing system on novel physiological and behavioral measurements of animal welfare for laying hens, including...
Farrowing crates present a major animal welfare problem. This study investigated the effects of temporary confinement at farrowing on sow welfare and aimed to determine whether this type of system could improve sow welfare through...
The effect of milk production systems on the welfare of dairy cows has been studied worldwide, but studies that compare pasture-based, compost barn, and free stall systems, according to animal welfare, are more scarce. In...
This study aimed to determine the effect of three different farrowing huts on the behaviour of outdoor housed sows and piglets during summer in Eastern Canada, with a focus on thermoregulatory and crushing behaviours. Forty-two...
Today's livestock agriculture faces major changes in domestic pig husbandry—besides animal health and productivity, aspects of animal welfare and animal-friendly husbandry systems for pigs increasingly gain attention. To get a basic and current overview of...
A novel livestock management system (LMS) for dairy cows mainly based on a high forage:concentrate ratio, no silage, and large outdoor paddocks, has been introduced in Italy during the last five years. It was proved...
As dairy cows are being housed for longer periods, with all-year-round housing growing in popularity, it is important to ensure housed environments are meeting the needs of cows. Dairy cows are motivated to access open...
Little is known about the impact of social and environmental enrichment on improving livestock resilience, i.e. the ability to quickly recover from perturbations. We evaluated the effect of an alternative housing system (AHS) on resilience...
As a global society, we have a duty to provide suitable care and conditions for farmed livestock to protect animal welfare and ensure the sustainability of our food supply. The suitability and biological impacts of...
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...
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...
This study aimed to determine the prevalence of keel bone deviations and feather damage of laying hens in two different free-range housing systems under commercial conditions. Both of the free-range systems had an indoor barn...
Anticipatory behaviour occurs in the period before a reward or other positive event is presented and has been interpreted as an indicator of the welfare and emotional state of animals. The use of this indicator...
Societal concern with the welfare of egg laying hens housed in conventional cages is fostering a transition towards cage-free systems in many countries. However, although cage-free facilities enable hens to move freely and express natural...
Allowing dairy cattle to access pasture can promote natural behaviour and improve their health. However, the psychological benefits are poorly understood. We compared a cognitive indicator of emotion in cattle either with or without pasture...
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...
A partially (50%) perforated flooring system showed positive effects on health- and behavior-based welfare indicators without affecting production performance. Ammonia (NH3) is the most common air pollutant in poultry production, with effects on animal welfare...
The aim of this study was to investigate whether the well-known positive effects of immunocastration on the behavior and welfare of pigs persist under varying environments. One hundred forty-four male pigs were studied with regard...
Piglet mortality, especially due to crushing, is a concern in pig production. While current systems use farrowing crates to reduce mortality, they present major animal welfare problems for the sow. This study investigated the effects...
This experiment studied the effects of lactation housing systems and human interaction on piglets’ responses to routine stressors. Forty litters of piglets were reared in either a standard farrowing crate (FC) or a loose farrowing...

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