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. 
There is a lack of clarity on whether pigs can emotionally respond to musical stimulation and whether that response is related to music structure. Qualitative Behavioral Assessment (QBA) was used to evaluate effects of 16...
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...
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...
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...
The aim of the present study was to compare intramuscular injection with a needle and intradermic needle-free vaccinations against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) in piglets at 28 days old by studying behavioral and...
The present study examined whether tail and ear postures in fattening pigs (n = 228) housed in different environments could be suitable for assessing their affective state. In doing so, it investigated the appearance of...
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...
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...
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...
Mikhalevich & Powell (2020) argue that it is wrong to dismiss the idea of sentience in invertebrates. Here, I expand on the evidence for crustaceans responding to noxious stimuli in ways that are not explained...
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...
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...
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)...
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 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...
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...
Assessing emotional states of dairy calves is an essential part of welfare assessment, but standardized protocols are absent. The present study aims at assessing the emotional states of dairy calves and establishing a reliable standard...
We searched a selection of the scientific literature to document evidence for, and explorations into reptile sentience. The intention of this review was to highlight; (1) to what extent reptile capability for emotions have been...
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...
Applying objective measures to assess the emotional states of animals is an important area of research and essential for improving animal welfare. In this study, we have built upon previous research to test whether ear...
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...
Individual housing of dairy calves is common farm practice, but has negative effects on calf welfare. A compromise between practice and welfare may be housing calves in pairs. We compared learning performances and affective states...
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...
In recent years, there has been a great increase in the interest of "emotion" and how it can be studied and translated from animals. Emotions arise when the brain receives an external stimulus, while the...

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