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. 
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...
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...
Cautery disbudding is a painful procedure performed on goat kids to prevent horn growth that may result in brain injury. Thermal damage to the cerebral cortex of the brain and subsequent neurologic disease is a...
This 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...
The concept of the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement) has been used as a framework for improving the welfare of laboratory animals for the last half century. By establishing an animal-centric view on housing and...
Animal models of human diseases are important in biomedical research. When using animals for scientific purposes, the 3Rs (replace, reduce, refine) should be considered. Refinement of animal models is essential to ensure best use of...
Pain causes behavioral, autonomic, and neuroendocrine changes and is a common cause of animal welfare compromise in farm animals. Current societal and ethical concerns demand better agricultural practices and improved welfare for food animals. These...
Locomotion scoring is crucial for the early detection of lameness, which reduces sow welfare and performance. Our objective was to test the effectiveness of a visual analogue scale (VAS) to measure locomotory ability (OVERALL) compared...
Piglet castration results in acute pain and stress to the animal. There is a critical need for effective on-farm methods of pain mitigation. Local anaesthesia using Tri-Solfen® (Animal Ethics Pty Ltd., Melbourne, Australia), a topical...
Pig welfare is affected by housing conditions, the minimum requirements of which are set up by EU legislation. Animal and non-animal-based measures are useful indicators to investigate housing risk factors for pig welfare. An observational...
Wildlife research has been indispensable for increasing our insight into ecosystem functioning as well as for designing effective conservation measures under the currently high rates of biodiversity loss. Genetic and genomic analyses might be able...
Background: General anesthesia in rabbits is associated with higher morbidity and mortality relative to other mammalian species commonly anesthetized. Unique challenges related to endotracheal intubation (ETI) in rabbits contribute to this risk. Objective: To improve...
The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of reduced stocking density in combination with provision of additional enrichment material on pig welfare on-farm. On three growing-finishing farms in Austria, in total 974...
Goat kids are frequently disbudded in intensively farmed units to reduce the number of accidental injuries to other animals and farm workers due to horn growth. The most commonly used method is thermal disbudding which...
A large craniotomy survival porcine model is useful for scientific research. The surgical approaches and complications of craniotomies in pigs have not been published before. This study describes how large craniotomies were performed in 46...
Both endotracheal tubes and supraglottic airway devices appear to provide adequate unassisted ventilation in anaesthetised rabbits. However, it is highly recommended that a capnograph is used with both airway devices to monitor ventilation changes, especially...
A common goal of captive animal institutions is to create environments that allow for the most naturalistic behavior from their animals. Behavioral data is often used as a measure of how an animal is thriving...
Reactions to dying and dead conspecifics have been observed in many non-human animals. Elephants, particularly African elephants, are thought to have an awareness of the death of their conspecifics, as they show compassionate behaviour towards...
Nowadays, most of the goat milk production in developed countries is done in intensive indoors production systems. In these systems, procedures such as disbudding are performed routinely. Disbudding is done in young goat kids and...
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...
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)...
Environmental enrichment in pig housing is a legal requirement under current EU legislation, but some recommended loose materials may cause obstructions in fully-slatted systems. Wood is an organic material that could be compatible with slatted...
The welfare status of elephants under human care has been a contentious issue for two decades or more in numerous western countries. Much effort has gone into assessing the welfare of captive elephants at individual...
We explore elephant play behaviour since (a) play has been proposed to represent a potential welfare indicator; and (b) play has been associated with long-term survival in the wild. We categorised play into four types...
Pathological lesions of feet occur frequently in captive elephant populations. To improve foot health, it is important to identify risk factors associated with such pathologies. Several previous studies have analyzed potentially influencing factors but were...

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