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. 

Unfulfilled exploratory behavior in pigs has been linked to tail biting, which causes reduced performance and welfare. Provision of straw can reduce tail biting, but large straw rations can cause poor hygiene in pens. This...

In commercial pig production, stressful events are common and can have detrimental impacts on the pig's health and welfare, as well as on the performance of the farm. Supplementary magnesium may reduce stress, and subsequent...

Piglets weaned under commercial systems are greatly stressed by maternal separation, abrupt changes in the diet and mixing of litters. Intensive agonistic interactions exacerbate this challenge for piglets. We investigated effects of older conspecific presence...

The importance of social stability and its influence on the expression of the social behaviour repertoire in domestic animals remains poorly understood, especially for affiliative behaviours and other putative socio-positive behaviours such as social play...

This 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is working with industry to promote social housing during cardiovascular telemetry recordings within non-rodent safety pharmacology and toxicology studies. Following surveys...

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 aim of this study was to investigate herd cortisol levels as an indicator of stress during gestation in three different feeding systems. Twelve commercial Danish herds with 800 to 3050 sows were included, with...

This study examines effects of opening hinged farrowing crates 4 or 7 days post-farrowing. Sows (n = 696) allocated to 3 treatments: PC—crate closed, T4—crate opened day 4, and T7—crate opened day 7 were assessed...

Housing pigs within their thermal comfort zone positively impacts productivity and performance. However, fundamental information on behavioral thermoregulatory responses of individual and group-housed pigs is meager. As a gregarious species, pigs prefer to be near...

Farrowing stalls are used in the United States swine industry to reduce pre-weaning piglet mortality, enable efficient individual animal management, and decrease facility construction and operating costs. The quantity and quality of space provided for...

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...

Animal welfare scientists have accumulated knowledge and developed interventions to improve livestock welfare, but these are poorly adopted in commercial practice. Animal welfare interventions are rarely tested for economic viability and this limits their uptake...

One of our colony’s five guinea pigs started to develop a moderate case of pododermatitis (bumblefoot) on one paw, which staff were keen to alleviate to prevent any detrimental effects that this might have on...

There are a multitude of health monitoring techniques/ methods available. It can be difficult to know which of these to use and when to use them. This is an attempt to simplify, maximise the efficacy...

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...

The present study aimed to evaluate animal welfare of pigs from the same farm, raised with two ventilation systems. The study involved 60 pens of fattening pigs, raised in two buildings: one naturally ventilated (NV)...

Increased attention on the effects of the global push for a larger litter size has focused on the increased occurrence of piglets with decreased viability, which have lighter birthweights and a reduced ability to thrive...

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...

Lameness and foot disorders are major health and welfare issues in intensive swine production systems. They are exacerbated when sows are housed in large groups on slatted concrete floors during gestation. Our study aimed to...

Chronic exposure to stressful environments can negatively impact cats' health and welfare, affecting behavioral, autonomic, endocrine, and immune function, as with cats in shelters. Low-stress handling practices likely improve shelter cat welfare, but data supporting...

The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of reduced stocking density in combination with provision of additional enrichment material on pig welfare on-farm. On three growing-finishing farms in Austria, in total 974...

The grower-finisher stage accounts for 64% of the total on-farm herd water use. Part of this is consumed by the pigs, but a part is also wasted. Drinking water usage and wastage is affected by...

As pets are considered members of the family, their health has received widespread attention. Since pets cannot talk and complain when they feel uncomfortable, monitoring vital signs becomes very helpful in disease detection, as well...

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