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. 

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...

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...

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...

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...

In order to investigate the effect of gentle handling on the behavior, performance, and meat quality of pigs from weaning to slaughter, 144 6-week-old weaned hybrid Min piglets (a native breed) were selected and divided...

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...

Pet rabbit welfare is a hidden crisis: Inappropriately housed, fed, and not routinely provided healthcare—rabbits can often suffer painful conditions and shortened lifespans. This study provides novel understanding of owners’ perceptions of rabbits’ mental capabilities...

Journeying into the field to study a model organism in its natural habitats. “Seeing them in the wild and seeing what kind of substrates they are on has really helped inform that for us, and...

Family dogs (Canis familiaris) seek human contact from an early age, can discriminate and prefer their caregivers over other humans. To investigate if being kept as a family animal is sufficient to induce similar early...

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...

It is now widely recognised that a positive human-animal relationship is beneficial not only for farm animals’ welfare but also for productivity and the quality of products. A better understanding of animal emotions is an...

Positive stockperson attitudes to his or her animals is associated with a positive behavioural response in the animals and in other indicators assumed to reflect a high level of welfare as well as increased productivity...

Becton Dickinson (BD) Animal Research Program developed an extensive training and environmental enrichment program to acclimate newly arrived swine to daily husbandry routines. The program seeks to build trust between swine and animal care and...

Enriching the life of farm animals is a legal obligation in intensive farming conditions in the European Union, though not worldwide. In pigs, manipulable materials are mandatory when no bedding is available. Like manipulable objects...

The human-pig relationship develops through visual, tactile, olfactory, and auditory interactions. Our objective was to determine the effect of human voices on the development of the human-pig relationship. We hypothesised that human voice facilitates the...

Anthropogenic change is expected to alter environments at alarming rates. To predict the impact of modified environments on social behavior, we must study the relationship between environmental features and collective behavior in a genetically tractable...

Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...

Animals come in a huge array of types, species and structures, but without realizing it, we have focused our care on those like us, mammals. They look something like us, so it's easy to empathize...

Adopting a social science perspective and qualitative methodology on the problem of laboratory fish welfare, this paper examines some underlying social factors and drivers that influence thinking, priorities and implementation of fish welfare initiatives and...

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...

Fish welfare is still a relatively new field. As such, regulations and protocols to ensure fish welfare are currently limited and vary considerably in different jurisdictions. This is in part because of the ongoing controversy...

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...

The neurobiological response to gentle touch remains poorly understood, especially in the context of human-animal interaction. A novel approach allowed recording the pig electroencephalogram (EEG) cranially epidurally and wirelessly during positive interactions with a human...

Zebrafish is one of the world's most widely used laboratory species, and it is utilized to answer important research questions in disparate fields such as biomedicine, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, toxicology, physiology, and evolution. Despite...

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...

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