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. 

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...

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...

Weaning and other regrouping events as routine work in commercial farms cause stress to pigs and compromise their welfare. Several studies found positive outcomes to mitigate weaning stress when piglets were socialized (i.e. co-mingled) or...

The aim of this study was to verify the motivation of rabbit does to social contact or seclusion. The results of two different research activities assessed in Italy (experiment 1) and Germany (experiment 2) through...

In semi-natural mixed-sex groups, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) organize their social life by forming a hierarchy, which is characterized by linearity and stability. Compared to the natural environment, many factors are different in contemporary breeding systems...

In the wild, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are social but territorial. Recent surveys suggest that over half of pet rabbits are housed singly. We aimed to compare welfare in single versus paired rabbits. We predicted singletons...

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...

Although group housing of naturally social animals like rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is desirable for ethical reasons, social conflicts can significantly increase the risk for injuries as well as stress incidences and negatively affect their welfare...

Intraspecific coalitional aggression is rare among all species, especially within stable social groups. We report here numerous cases of intraspecific lethal gang aggression within stable groups of domestic pigs. The objective was to describe this...

The study aimed at evaluating different management protocols of grouping does in regard to aggressive interactions and the establishment of a hierarchy under commercial conditions. Fifty-seven multiparous rabbit does of the Hycole hybrid maternal line...

Previously, the benefits of early-life socialisation on later-life social development have been reported in pigs. Here we investigated the effect of pre-weaning socialisation on the later-life cognitive ability of pigs using a range of techniques...

While non-human primate studies have long been conducted in laboratories, and more recently at zoological parks, sanctuaries are increasingly considered a viable setting for research. Accredited sanctuaries in non-range countries house thousands of primates formerly...

Animal contests are costly and predicted to be won by the individual with the higher resource-holding potential (RHP). Weight is often used a proxy for RHP; however, victory does not always go to the heaviest...

This article describes the rehoming of 10 laboratory female rabbits now living as a group in a private shelter.

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...

This article describes the importance of providing laboratory animals with opportunities to engage in play, and provides a few practical ideas for how to do this.

Elizabethan collars (E-collars) are commonly used in various species to safeguard healing wounds. However, E-collars inadvertently restrict the expression of normal species-typical behaviors, including coprophagy, self-grooming, and social housing. To maintain social housing in accordance...

Intensively housed domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) have little opportunity to perform diverse foraging behaviour though they still seem strongly motivated to do so. Here, we investigated whether the execution of specific behaviours may in itself...

Aggressiveness is one of the main problems in group housing of rabbit does. The aim of the experiment was to investigate the frequency of aggressiveness and mating behaviour as well as the lifespan of does...

The keeping of gibbons in a captive environment and recreating an appropriate habitat is essential to enable them to exhibit species-specific behaviour. This research was designed to provide baseline data on the activity budgets of...

When sows are mixed into groups, hierarchies form and resulting aggression and stress can affect production and welfare. This study determined the effect of providing point-source materials on aggressive and play behaviors in gestating sows...

Nose contact is a frequent form of social behaviour in pigs, but the motivational reasons underlying this behaviour remain unclear. We investigated the frequency, direction and type of sow–piglet nosing behaviour and its association with...

This study assessed the effects of an elevated plastic-slatted platform and/or a plastic hiding tube in collective pens with large group sizes (27 or 36 rabbits/pen; 16 rabbits/m2) on the performance and welfare of rabbits...

The aim of this study was to assess the impacts of different enrichments in various enclosures in a gibbon rehabilitation centre in the northeast of India. The results show a greater interaction with the feeding...

Hierarchy formation in domestic sows results in aggression and stress, which might be ameliorated through nutritional satiety. The effect on aggression in group housed, gestating sows provided a standard or high volume of a “standard”...

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