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. 

Anxiety is a physio-psychological state anticipating an imminent threat. In social mammals it is behaviorally expressed via displacement activities and buffered via affiliation. Anxiety research on domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) has mostly focused on abnormal/stereotypic...

How many of us have had this experience? We go to a conference, we read an article, we watch a video. We understand operant conditioning. We grasp the concepts behind clicker training, target training, and...

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...

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...

This great cool-down snack is ideal for group or singly housed swine or nonhuman primates (particularly in larger pen-style housing). This item can be customized for canines as well by modifying the liquid used and/or...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

People often express concern for the welfare of farm animals, but research on this topic has relied upon self-report. Facial expressions provide a quantifiable measure of emotional response that may be less susceptible to social...

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...

The importance of social stability and its influence on the expression of the social behaviour repertoire in domestic animals remains poorly understood, especially for affiliative behaviours and other putative socio-positive behaviours such as social play...

In commercial pig production, stressful events are common and can have detrimental impacts on the pig's health and welfare, as well as on the performance of the farm. Supplementary magnesium may reduce stress, and subsequent...

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...

Pigs are an ideal model for treating osteochondral defects, though their sedentary nature could impair their healing when being used for one of these projects. Following joint injury, some level of lameness is anticipated. Developing...

Previous positive interactions with humans may ameliorate the stress response of farm animals to aversive routine practices such as painful or stressful procedures, particularly those associated with stockpeople. We studied the effects of positive handling...

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...

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...

Farm animals can perceive humans positively by observing another animal being positively handled. This study evaluated whether pigs acquire a positive perception of humans after observing either a high or low socially ranked conspecific receiving...

Piglets weaned under commercial systems are greatly stressed by maternal separation, abrupt changes in the diet and mixing of litters. Intensive agonistic interactions exacerbate this challenge for piglets. We investigated effects of older conspecific presence...

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...

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...

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