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...

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...

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...

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)...

Hematology is a common tool for wildlife health assessments. Manual leukocyte counts are required in reptiles, however, disagreement between quantification methods has been observed in some chelonians. This study determined agreement between two methods of...

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...

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...

Measuring vital signs is central to medical practice, but they are difficult to monitor in awake laboratory animals. We examined the feasibility of a noninvasive device [Cortrium C3 device] for telemetric assessment of respiration rate...

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...

The use of carbon dioxide (CO2) exposure as a means of animal euthanasia has received considerable attention in mammals and birds but remains virtually untested in reptiles. We measured the behavioral responses of four squamate...

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...

OBJECTIVE: To characterize induction and recovery characteristics of 3 commonly used inhalant anesthetics in prairie rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis): isoflurane, sevoflurane, and desflurane. ANIMALS: 12 healthy adult prairie rattlesnakes. PROCEDURES: In a randomized crossover design, snakes...

This study assessed aversion, stunning effectiveness, and product quality of nitrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2) mixtures used for stunning pigs. A total of 1852 slaughter pigs divided into two similar batches was assessed during routine...

Nitrogen gas (N2) delivered in high expansion foam in a closed container could be a feasible method for humanely stunning pigs. This study aimed to evaluate potential aversion in pigs to the N2 foam method...

Low atmospheric pressure stunning (LAPS) is a slaughter technique which may be less stressful for pigs (Sus scrofa domestica) than current commercial stunning and slaughter methods. The main methods used currently for slaughtering pigs are...

The use of carbon dioxide (CO2) for stunning and killing animals is considered to compromise welfare due to air hunger, anxiety, fear, and pain. Despite decades of research, no alternatives have so far been found...

Infrared thermography (IRT) or thermal imaging is increasingly being used as a non-invasive method to gain information on animals' physiological and emotional state. IRT has the potential to serve as a non-invasive quantitative assessment method...

Small laboratory animals are commonly euthanased via intraperitoneal (IP) injection of sodium pentobarbital. However, there is concern that animals may experience pain prior to loss of consciousness with this delivery route. The present study investigated...

The most common method for the on-farm euthanasia of neonate piglets is reported to be manual blunt force trauma. This paper presents the results of research to evaluate a mechanical non-penetrating captive bolt (the Accles...

Current methods of euthanizing piglets are raising animal welfare concerns. Our experiment used a novel two-step euthanasia method, using nitrous oxide (N2O) for six minutes and then carbon dioxide (CO2) on compromised 0- to 7-day-old...

The aim of this research was to evaluate the welfare of pre-weaned piglets euthanised using three different gas treatments: 100% carbon dioxide (CO2), 100% argon (Ar) or a mixture of 60% Ar/40% carbon dioxide (Ar/CO2)...

A previous study demonstrated the effectiveness of the Bock Industries Zephyr EXL non-penetrating captive bolt, using the abolition of visual-evoked potentials as a determination of brain death, in piglets in a laboratory. A second trial...

For humans and for non-human primates heart rate is a reliable indicator of an individual’s current physiological state, with applications ranging from health checks to experimental studies of cognitive and emotional state. In humans, changes...

The objectives of this research were to evaluate the effect of age and delivering method during carbon dioxide (CO2) euthanasia on the welfare of pigs (Sus scrofa). In Experiment 1, pigs aged 1, 2, 3...

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