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. 
Prevention of pain in rabbits is a priority for both welfare and validity of scientific data. We aimed to determine if the rabbit grimace scale (RbtGS) could be used as a viable, rapid assessment tool...
Farrowing crates present a major animal welfare problem. This study investigated the effects of temporary confinement at farrowing on sow welfare and aimed to determine whether this type of system could improve sow welfare through...
Research primates may undergo surgical procedures making effective pain management essential to ensure good animal welfare and unbiased scientific data. Adequate pain mitigation is dependent on whether veterinarians, technicians, researchers, and caregivers can recognize and...
Field evidence indicates that livestock producers are motivated by access to products that readily deliver pain management during husbandry interventions and, more recently, viral epidermal infectious diseases, including FMD. There has been impressive adoption in...
This study aimed to determine the effect of three different farrowing huts on the behaviour of outdoor housed sows and piglets during summer in Eastern Canada, with a focus on thermoregulatory and crushing behaviours. Forty-two...
Naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber) are a unique rodent species originating in Africa and are increasingly being used in research. Their needs and characteristics differ from those of other rodents used in research. Unique housing...
Today's livestock agriculture faces major changes in domestic pig husbandry—besides animal health and productivity, aspects of animal welfare and animal-friendly husbandry systems for pigs increasingly gain attention. To get a basic and current overview of...
Since they arrived at CU Boulder, we have learned a lot about the voles from the laboratory, other institutions, and our trial-and-error. We hope this information can be helpful to any considering adding voles to...
Naked mole-rats (NMRs) have unique husbandry requirements that need to be considered when maintaining them in captivity. We have successfully maintained NMRs at the University of Illinois at Chicago for more than 20 years. This...
Naked Mole-rats have been studied in laboratories for decades due to their unique behavior and physiology. They are one of a few species of mammals that maintain a hive social structure, are highly resistant to...
Naked Mole-rats are relative newcomers in the research world. Due to the complexity of their natural subterranean tunneling system, it has been difficult to replicate in the laboratory environment. Housing standards often differ from the...
Little is known about the impact of social and environmental enrichment on improving livestock resilience, i.e. the ability to quickly recover from perturbations. We evaluated the effect of an alternative housing system (AHS) on resilience...
In conclusion, the investigations carried out up to now demonstrate that during the early stages fish show high sensitivity to many types of stressors involving an array of responses to overcome alterations that could affect...
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 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...
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...
Animal models of human diseases are important in biomedical research. When using animals for scientific purposes, the 3Rs (replace, reduce, refine) should be considered. Refinement of animal models is essential to ensure best use of...
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...
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...
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...
Appropriate end-points are integral to the refinement of laboratory animal experiments. Our recent experience has highlighted that ambiguity around end-points is hampering their adoption in experiments that cause severe suffering to fish. In toxicology, the...
The assessment and understanding of Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Elimination (ADME) for new pharmaceuticals is required in regulatory submissions. Typically, ADME studies are conducted using metabolism cages designed for the single housing of animals to...
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...

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