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. 
Heart rate (HR) is a vital bio-signal that is relatively easy to monitor with contact sensors and is related to a living organism’s state of health, stress and well-being. The objective of this study was...
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...
Confinement to farrowing crates is known to prevent sows from performing natural behavior, impairing animal welfare and possibly causing chronic stress. Hair cortisol analyses are increasingly used to detect chronic stress in animals. In the...
Vocalizations are used by group-living animals as aggressive and submissive signals during agonistic interactions, and are also used to maintain dominance hierarchies in many species. For gregarious strepsirrhines with large vocal repertoires and differentiated dominance...
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 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 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...
Monitoring the temperature of piglets after birth is critical to ensure their well-being. Rectal temperature measurement is time-consuming, requires fixation of the animal and is stressful for piglets. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness...
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...
Thyroid hormones are essential for metabolism, energy homeostasis and reproduction. Hormones can be measured in various biological source materials: blood, feces, urine, saliva and others. The aim of our study was to verify usefulness of...
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...
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...
Research animals are important for scientific advancement, and therefore, their long-term welfare needs to be monitored to not only minimize suffering, but to provide positive affective states and experiences. Currently, there is limited guidance 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...
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...
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...
Firmly squeezing the chests of newborn foals and calves that are showing abnormal behaviours after birth causes them to enter a less-responsive state, characterised by lying down with eyes closed and no limb movements. Once...
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...
Responses to stress are unavoidable, adaptive mechanisms in humans and non-human animals. However, in humans, chronic stress has been linked to poor health outcomes and early mortality. Allostatic load, the physiologic dysregulation that occurs when...
During the development of potential new medicines or agrochemicals, an assessment of the safety profile to humans and environmental species is conducted using a range of different in silico and in vitro techniques in conjunction...
This research evaluates the economic sustainability of rabbit farms using different housing systems—bicellular (BI), conventional dual-purpose (DP) and enriched cages designed according to the World Rabbit Science Association guidelines (WRSA)—through a field-based study involving six...

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