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. 
In the United States swine industry, preweaning mortality represents the highest mortality rate of any production phase, nearly half attributed to crushing. The overarching aim of this study was to determine if enrichment ropes would...
There is increasing recognition that farm animal welfare standards should ensure positive welfare, as well as prevent negative welfare. Resources that are valued by an animal and that provide opportunities to engage in motivated behaviours...
Developing effective enrichments is important for improving pig (Sus scrofa) welfare as it increases species-specific behaviours, decreases abnormal behaviours, and increases time active. However, few enrichments are available for sows in farrowing crates. Pigs are...
The enrichment of the environment of captive animals is one of the methods applied to reduce stress of the animals and to assure their proper welfare. However, placing objects in a limited space of a...
In mammals, positive tactile contact is recognized as an effective tool for triggering positive affective states. In this study, we investigated the benefits of providing automatic rotative brushes for group-housed horses. Our three aims were...
Improving welfare is still a critical issue in pig husbandry. Upgrades of the housing environment seem to be a promising solution to optimise resilience as a whole, and therefore improve animal welfare. The objective of...
There is a lack of clarity on whether pigs can emotionally respond to musical stimulation and whether that response is related to music structure. Qualitative Behavioral Assessment (QBA) was used to evaluate effects of 16...
Little is known about the impact of social and environmental enrichment on improving livestock resilience, i.e. the ability to quickly recover from perturbations. We evaluated the effect of an alternative housing system (AHS) on resilience...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
In laboratory animal research, many procedures will be stressful for the animals, as they are forced to participate. Training animals to cooperate using clicker training (CT) or luring (LU) may reduce stress levels, and thereby...
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...
Enrichment is widely used as a tool for studying how changes in environment affect animal behavior. Here, we report an experimental study investigating if behaviors shaped by stimuli from environmental enrichment depending on the stage...
This simple DIY training treat is great for NHP, swine, rabbits, rodents, and dogs. Note that dehydrated watermelon may resemble muscle tissue!
Playing music or natural sounds to animals in human care is thought to have beneficial effects. An analysis of published papers on the use of human-based music with animals demonstrates a variety of different results...
Whether animals have emotions was historically a long-lasting question but, today, nobody disputes that they do. However, how to assess them and how to guarantee animals their welfare have become important research topics in the...
This research evaluates the economic sustainability of rabbit farms using different housing systems—bicellular (BI), conventional dual-purpose (DP) and enriched cages designed according to the World Rabbit Science Association guidelines (WRSA)—through a field-based study involving six...
Eight pens (25 pigs/pen; n = 200) provided with an interactive straw-filled rooting tower (experimental group) and five pens (25 pigs/pen; n = 125) with a stationary (fixed) tower without straw (control group) were compared...

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