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. 

Since January 2019, surgical castration of male piglets must be performed using local anaesthesia, if farmers deliver pigs to the primary exporting slaughterhouses according to the “Danish quality scheme”; a voluntary initiative taken by the...

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 barren housing conditions, enrichment materials are given to pigs to improve their welfare. Here, we assessed the suitability of an algae-based cylinder as an enrichment material on the behavioral, physiological, health and productivity welfare...

As we learn more about the importance of gene-environment interactions and the effects of environmental enrichment, it becomes evident that minimalistic laboratory conditions can affect gene expression patterns and behaviors of model organisms. In the...

Most research to enrich the environment of psittacines in captivity has focused on foraging. Little is known about the importance of bathing substrates for enrichment of their environment, despite this being a natural behaviour that...

We investigated how providing chewable materials to piglets during the early weeks of life affect sow behaviour, sow and piglet interaction and sow health in pens with farrowing crates. We divided 59 pregnant sows into...

Sows are highly motivated to build a nest prior to farrowing, but, given the barren environment of farrowing crates, this behaviour is limited and improperly expressed. We aimed to assess the effects of a straw...

When pigs cannot perform innate species-specific behaviours (e.g. rooting or chewing), behavioural disorders, like tail biting, can occur. However, it seems that various enrichment materials enhance the pigs to perform exploration behaviour and therefore can...

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...

Pain causes behavioral, autonomic, and neuroendocrine changes and is a common cause of animal welfare compromise in farm animals. Current societal and ethical concerns demand better agricultural practices and improved welfare for food animals. These...

This simple DIY training treat is great for NHP, swine, rabbits, rodents, and dogs. Note that dehydrated watermelon may resemble muscle tissue!

The white-crowned pigeon, Patagioenas leucocephala, is a species of bird not often used in research. This may be related to its anxiety during normal human interactions, such as with cage changing. Our institution acquired a...

The relationship between inadequate foraging opportunities and the expression of oral repetitive behaviors has been well documented in many production animal species. However, this relationship has been less-well examined in zoo-housed animals, particularly avian species...

Immunocastration is a sustainable alternative to piglet castration but faces limited market acceptance. The phenomenon of non-responders has not to date been examined in detail, but adverse and stressful housing conditions (e.g., mixing of groups)...

This study investigated the effects of two factors, enriched environment (EE) and different crossbreeds, on the maternal behavior and physiology of Min-pig hybrid sows. The analysis was performed on a total of 72 multiparous sows...

We investigated the effect of different farrowing systems on the behavior of sows and piglets. In total, 22 hybrid sows (Yorkshire × Landrace) were randomly assigned into three farrowing systems, farrowing crate (FC), free farrowing...

Environmental enrichment in pig housing is a legal requirement under current EU legislation, but some recommended loose materials may cause obstructions in fully-slatted systems. Wood is an organic material that could be compatible with slatted...

Becton Dickinson (BD) Animal Research Program developed an extensive training and environmental enrichment program to acclimate newly arrived swine to daily husbandry routines. The program seeks to build trust between swine and animal care and...

This study addressed the impact of early and later life environmental enrichment, and their combination, on specific antibody responses and peripheral blood leukocyte subpopulations in pigs. Pigs were kept in either barren (B1) or enriched...

The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether linear and non-linear measures of heart rate variability (HRV) could be used as indicators of piglet castration pain. Thirty piglets were allocated to 1 of 4...

Surgical castration is a painful procedure that is routinely performed without pain relief on commercial pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) farms. Previous research has focused on quantifying piglet pain response through behaviours. However, to date, behavioural...

Deflighting zoo birds is a practice that receives increasing criticism due to its presumed incompatibility with animal welfare. To our knowledge, this is the first approach to address this problem in a scientific way. To...

A major problem in conventional pig production systems is the occurrence of abnormal behaviours such as tail biting. Tail biting is a multifactorial problem, but it seems that a lack of proper enrichment materials prevents...

This article describes the steps for making a DIY guinea pig or rabbit cardboard foraging ball. Pictures are provided for each step as well as the completed ball. These cardboard foraging balls can be made...

Surgical castration of male piglets without analgesia is a painful procedure. This prospective, randomized and double-blinded study aimed to evaluate the analgesic effects of four different local anesthetics for piglet castration during the first week...

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