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. 
Here, we evaluated if visual barriers could reduce intraspecific agonism in an all-male group of Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) living in a zoo. Crocodiles were monitored for nearly 100 h, and four “hotspots” of aggression...
Snake ownership is popular; however, housing and care may not always satisfy the animal's welfare needs. For example, snakes are often kept in environmental conditions that restrict their ability to stretch out fully or move...
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...
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...
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...
The article describes the care of the Olive python (Liasis olivaceus) including information on housing, feeding, handling, as well as the general health care of these animals. Some of the information presented is derived from...
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...
Snakes are sentient animals and should be subject to the accepted general welfare principles of other species. However, they are also the only vertebrates commonly housed in conditions that prevent them from adopting rectilinear behavior...
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...
Modern freestall barns for dairy cattle have been constructed with considerations for dairy cow cleanliness; partitions and other stall features such as neck rails are designed to reduce manure contamination of bedding and decrease farm...
Being in a confined environment causes chronic stress in gestating sows, which is detrimental for sow health, welfare and, consequently, offspring physiology. This study assessed the health and welfare of gestating sows housed in a...
Due to a rising demand for goat milk and goat milk products worldwide, it is likely that dairy goat production will be intensified in the future, with larger herds per farm. In Switzerland, as in...
Despite being phased out in the EU, several states in the USA and other select countries such as Australia, gestation stalls remains a common sow housing system worldwide. In Canada, the 2014 Code of Practice...
Although most chameleon species can be challenging captives, C. calyptratus have been successfully kept and bred in captivity for over thirty years. Despite their relative familiarity, our challenge is to replicate their preferred habitats in...
Considering animal welfare, animals should be kept in animal-appropriate and stress-free housing conditions in all circumstances. To assure such conditions, not only basic needs must be met, but also possibilities must be provided that allow...
Climate change is a reality and global surface temperature is projected to rise substantially in the next 80 years. Agriculture practices will have to adapt to climate change, and also help to mitigate this effect...
In this case study, a housing system for rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was developed, complying with the new German Welfare Regulation, and evaluated on-farm with regard to the rabbits' behaviour during four fattening periods. The housing...
Background: Farm animals (FAs) are frequently used in biomedical research. Recommendations for the purchase, housing and health monitoring of these animals (sheep, goats, cattle and pigs) are still missing, and many institutes have developed their...
Feasible alternatives to stressful weaning and tail-docking are needed to inhibit tail biting. Therefore, we investigated the effects of housing systems for 1106 pigs that were weaned from: (1) conventional farrowing crates (FC), (2) free-farrowing...
We used an operant conditioning paradigm to test the motivation of non-pregnant dairy heifers to access shade during the summer and autumn months (January to June) in southern Brazil. Dairy heifers (n = 18) were...
Pig welfare is affected by housing conditions, the minimum requirements of which are set up by EU legislation. Animal and non-animal-based measures are useful indicators to investigate housing risk factors for pig welfare. An observational...

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