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. 

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...

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...

The pygmy hog (Porcula salvania), until recently was classified as a critically endangered suid facing the threat of extinction due to habitat degradation. Efforts are being made to protect the pygmy hog from extinction and...

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...

One way to reduce the negative impact of farrowing crates on sow welfare is to limit confinement of sows from the onset of farrowing until the end of the critical period of piglets’ life a...

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...

Most farrowing facilities in the United States use stalls and heat lamps to improve sow and piglet productivity. This study investigated these factors by comparing production outcomes for three different farrowing stall layouts (traditional, expanded...

Temporary crating is considered as a step towards improved welfare in lactating sows. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate effects of confinement period (CP) and farrowing pen-type (PT) on health-related measures. Four...

Concerns about the welfare of lactating sows housed in farrowing crates have emerged because crates physically restrict the sows and possibly compromise their behavior and comfort. The aim of this study was to identify how...

Farrowing crates have traditionally been used to reduce occurrence of piglet mortality as a result of sow crushing. However the utilisation of traditional farrowing crates has been suggested to contribute to negative welfare for both...

The most widespread reproductive rhythm practiced in rabbit farming is based on artificial insemination (AI) performed at around 11 days pospartum. This approach results in high production rates, but requires high yearly replacement of animals...

For a long time, scientists assumed that newborns have a severely limited sense of pain (if any). However, this assumption is wrong and led to a “start of the exit” from piglet surgical castration. Some...

Changes in facial expression have been shown to be a useful tool to assess pain severity in humans and animals, but facial scales have not yet been developed for all species. A facial expression scale...

Free-farrowing systems and group-housing systems for lactating sows are sensitive systems and require an optimal interaction of different environmental factors to be successful. The aim of the present study was to compare sows’ reproductive traits...

The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of free-farrowing pens and farrowing crates on the health parameters and the suckling behaviour of sows and their piglets, which were housed in farrowing...

This study aimed to evaluate whether adding straw to a loose-farrowing house promotes maternal functions and production. Forty-eight sows (Landrace× Large White) were housed in either a farrowing pen without straw (C, n = 24)...

The weekend effect hypothesis proposes that captive primates are more likely to give birth during times of low disturbance and reduced staff activity. The hypothesis specifically predicts that laboratory‐housed primates will be more likely to...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 14 November 2017 in Weybridge, UK. The first session addressed meeting animals' needs and aiming for a 'good life', with the needs...

Although sow confinement at farrowing is inherently stressful, farrowing crates remain in widespread commercial use. Sows adapt to their environment, however adaptation may be counter-productive if the farrowing system changes. The current study observed the...

Myxoma virus is a member of Leporipoxviridae whose tropism is tightly restricted to lagomorphs. In susceptible Oryctolagus rabbits, the virus causes a highly lethal disease known as myxomatosis, which begins as a localized infection but...

Penile injuries in boars have been discussed as a relevant welfare problem in pork production with entire males (EM). The incidence of penile injuries with immunocastrated boars has not been described so far. Thus, it...

Weaning stress accompanied by outburst of aggression is a critical point in pig production as it compromises piglets’ welfare and leads to poor growth rate and health problems. Therefore, a weaning methods to smoothen the...

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