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...

Steroid-induced osteonecrosis of the femoral head (SONFH) is a condition documented in humans and animals exposed to chronic steroid administration. The rabbit has become a preferred animal model for investigating the pathogenesis and treatment of...

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...

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...

A guide for animal welfare assessment of fattening pigs recommends recording some of the indicators for a sample of the animals from a herd. However, it is not certain whether the herd’s level of welfare...

Pig cryptorchidism is a congenital anomaly, which requires surgical intervention. Pain assessment in pig farming has some limitations and consumers are increasingly concerned about suffering linked to on-farm procedures. The PGS seems to be a...

Respiratory diseases are a major problem in the pig industry worldwide. Due to the impact of these diseases, the early identification of infected herds is essential. Computer vision technology, using RGB (red, green and blue)...

The present study aimed at introducing a reliable and more feasible indicator to evaluate stereotypies in sows in comparison with the ‘Welfare Quality® animal welfare assessment protocol for sows and piglets’. Therefore, the indicators for...

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...

The aim of this study was to assess the interobserver reliability of the measures forming the Welfare Quality® animal welfare assessment protocol for sows and piglets. The study was carried out at nine farms in...

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...

Animal behavior is an important aspect in the assessment of animal welfare. Passive infrared detectors (PID), detecting thermal changes to measure activity, have already been used to record data on the behavior of groups of...

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 use of juvenile conventional pigs as a preclinical animal model to perform pharmacokinetic (PK), pharmacodynamic (PD) and safety studies for the paediatric population is increasing. Repetitive oral administration of drugs to juvenile pigs is...

Severity assessment in biomedical research is required by the European authorities. Therefore, a variety of score sheets are available. The first score sheets were designed and introduced by Morton and Griffith (M&G) in 1985, to...

Intensive pig management involves in a commercial setting the housing and implementation of certain procedures, such as castration and tail docking, which may be stressful for the animal. Good farming practices include the reduction of...

Changes in pig behaviours are a useful aid in detecting early signs of compromised health and welfare. In commercial settings, automatic detection of pig behaviours through visual imaging remains a challenge due to farm demanding...

Affective states are key determinants of animal welfare. Assessing such states under field conditions is thus an important goal in animal welfare science. The rapid Defence Cascade (DC) response (startle, freeze) to sudden unexpected stimuli...

This is the 5th volume of selected discussions that took place on the electronic Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum between February 2016 and December 2019. The forum was created in October 2002; it allows...

Animals’ tail posture and motion play an important role in communication, amongst others. In domestic pigs, the debate around tail docking and tail biting has made the tail an important research topic, and tail-related behaviour...

Welfare assessment has traditionally been performed by direct observation by humans, providing information at only selected points in time. Recently, this assessment method has been questioned, as ‘Precision Livestock Farming’ technologies may be able to...

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...

Rabbits are the third species in terms of number of animals reared for meat production in the world. However, in comparison to other species, very few studies have focused on their welfare. The aim of...

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