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. 

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...

Although alpacas are becoming increasingly popular animals, their behaviour towards humans has received little research interest until now. The purpose of our study was to investigate, for the first time, associations between caretaker attitudes and...

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...

Brushing produces a relaxing effect and improves the welfare of ewes and lambs and the human-animal relationship. Lambs gently handled during rearing are less fearful to humans in their adulthood, but there are few studies...

Anxiety is a physio-psychological state anticipating an imminent threat. In social mammals it is behaviorally expressed via displacement activities and buffered via affiliation. Anxiety research on domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) has mostly focused on abnormal/stereotypic...

To date, Qualitative Behavior Assessment (QBA) has not been used to measure the welfare of pre-partum Zebu heifers treated with practices of positive handling. The study objective was to investigate the effect of brushing as...

The aim of this study was to investigate if calves’ play behaviour and non-nutritive sucking behaviour, as indirect measures of welfare status, are associated with the age of the calf when group housed, age when...

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...

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...

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...

Feed particles are preferred for foraging and they are also a stimulus for sham dustbathing. Most sham dustbathing bouts start with bill raking in the feed by caged hens. As hens often exhibit a floor...

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...

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...

Dairy housing systems can have major implications on how freely cows move within their environment and how fully they can express their behavioral repertoire, impacting overall welfare. To ensure housing systems are meeting the needs...

A total of 416 day-old ostrich chicks were randomly allocated to one of the three different husbandry practices for 3 months after hatch; HP1 (extensive human presence with gentle human voice, visual and gentle physical...

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...

The objective of this study was to evaluate effects of environmental enrichment on play behaviour in fast-growing broiler chickens. Chicks (19 of each sex) were randomly assigned to 6 non-enriched (NE) pens and 6 pens...

Gentle animal–human interactions, such as stroking, can promote positive emotions and thus welfare in cattle. While previous studies showed that stroking at the ventral neck elicited the most positive reactions in cows, intra-specific allogrooming in...

The behaviour of new world camelids towards humans has received little research attention so far. Our aims were to assess the response of alpacas and llamas to handling, and to investigate its associations with caretaker...

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...

The quality of the animal-human relationship and, consequently, the welfare of animals can be improved by gentle interactions such as stroking and talking. The perception of different stimuli during these interactions likely plays a key...

In semi-natural mixed-sex groups, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) organize their social life by forming a hierarchy, which is characterized by linearity and stability. Compared to the natural environment, many factors are different in contemporary breeding systems...

Positive stockperson attitudes to his or her animals is associated with a positive behavioural response in the animals and in other indicators assumed to reflect a high level of welfare as well as increased productivity...

Throughout their evolutionary history, humans have tried to domesticate a variety of wild terrestrial mammals, resulting in a limited number that has been successfully domesticated. Among these domesticated species, domestic goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) are...

The human-animal interactions are a key component of human and animal welfare. The quality of this interaction can therefore be assessed by measuring the reaction response of the animals to the handler’s behavior. The aim...

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