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. 

On farms, the currently approved and most widely practised method of euthanising non-viable piglets is blunt force trauma to the head followed by exsanguination. However, the use of this method is criticised due to public...

Monitoring the vocalizations produced by livestock in commercial facilities can be used to remotely assess the arousal, and perhaps welfare, of the animals. Domestic swine is an ideal candidate for this type of assessment as...

The effects of a standard protocol for euthanasia on heart rate variability (HRV) as a consequence of stress response were analyzed in this prospective clinical study. The HRV was determined in 40 horses undergoing euthanasia...

The aim of the study was to assess the effect of two different stunning methods on the level of blood stress indicators (cortisol, insulin, glucose) and rabbit meat quality. The experiment was conducted on crossbreds...

The swine industry is often forced to euthanize pigs in the first few weeks of life due to injuries, hernias, or unthriftiness. The majority of pigs are euthanized using carbon dioxide (CO2) gas asphyxiation but...

The optimal choice of euthanasia method for laboratory rodents depends on a number of factors, including the scientific goals of the study, the need to minimize animal pain and/or distress, applicable guidelines and laws, the...

Examining the literature suggests equine personality is of interest to behavior and welfare scientists and those involved in the equine industry. Study and assessment of personality is critical because of the profound implications certain traits...

Consciousness is central to animal welfare concerns. Its assessment is most often conducted based on behavior, with a poor understanding of the correspondence between behavior and the neurobiological processes that underlie the subjective experience of...

Swine mass depopulation refers to the destruction of large numbers of pigs and may include not only animals affected with a disease but also healthy pigs in a facility or surrounding areas. Emerging applications of...

Guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) have been used in research since the 19th century to collect data due to their physiological similarities to humans. Today, animals perform a vital role in experiments and concerns for laboratory...

This study assessed aversion, stunning effectiveness, and product quality of nitrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2) mixtures used for stunning pigs. A total of 1852 slaughter pigs divided into two similar batches was assessed during routine...

Nitrogen gas (N2) delivered in high expansion foam in a closed container could be a feasible method for humanely stunning pigs. This study aimed to evaluate potential aversion in pigs to the N2 foam method...

Low atmospheric pressure stunning (LAPS) is a slaughter technique which may be less stressful for pigs (Sus scrofa domestica) than current commercial stunning and slaughter methods. The main methods used currently for slaughtering pigs are...

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is commonly used to kill rodents. However, a large body of research has now established that CO2 is aversive to them. A multidisciplinary symposium organized by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and...

The use of carbon dioxide (CO2) for stunning and killing animals is considered to compromise welfare due to air hunger, anxiety, fear, and pain. Despite decades of research, no alternatives have so far been found...

The assessment of personality in farm animals and its relation to other behavioural and physiological traits is of growing scientific and practical interest. Therefore, the aims of the present study were first to assess the...

Personality is defined as individual behavioral differences that are consistent over time and across contexts and is constructed from a number of underlying traits. Over the last 27 years, studies on pig personality have investigated...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Working Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 25 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and...

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...

Personality, defined as consistent between-individual variation in clusters of behavioral traits independent of factors such as age or sex, emerges in most animal species tested so far. The number of invertebrate species discovered to have...

Indicators of positive emotions are still scarce and many proposed behavioural markers have proven ambiguous. Studies established a link between acoustic signals and emitter’s internal state, but few related to positive emotions and still fewer...

Small laboratory animals are commonly euthanased via intraperitoneal (IP) injection of sodium pentobarbital. However, there is concern that animals may experience pain prior to loss of consciousness with this delivery route. The present study investigated...

Measuring emotions in nonhuman mammals is challenging. As animals are not able to verbally report how they feel, we need to find reliable indicators to assess their emotional state. Emotions can be described using two...

The most common method for the on-farm euthanasia of neonate piglets is reported to be manual blunt force trauma. This paper presents the results of research to evaluate a mechanical non-penetrating captive bolt (the Accles...

Current methods of euthanizing piglets are raising animal welfare concerns. Our experiment used a novel two-step euthanasia method, using nitrous oxide (N2O) for six minutes and then carbon dioxide (CO2) on compromised 0- to 7-day-old...

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