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. 

Provision of rooting material as enrichment for pigs has been primarily oriented towards reducing negative affect (suffering). Information is also needed on the impact of different types of rooting materials in promoting positive affect (pleasure)...

GPS collars have revolutionized the field of animal ecology, providing detailed information on animal movement and the habitats necessary for species survival. GPS collars also have the potential to cause adverse effects ranging from mild...

This article describes the steps for making a DIY guinea pig or rabbit cardboard foraging ball. Pictures are provided for each step as well as the completed ball. These cardboard foraging balls can be made...

The efficacy of analgesics such as meloxicam and ketoprofen to control pain in piglets when mixed with iron dextran (ID) before injection is unknown. The purpose of this study was to compare perceived pain in...

It is recommended that browse should be an important part of diets for browsing and intermediate feeding type ruminants. However, provision of browse in winter time is problematic for many zoos located in the temperate...

The objective of this study was to find a practical means of reducing pain associated with surgical castration by evaluating the effects of oral meloxicam and topical lidocaine, separately and in combination, on behavioral indicators...

Fur-chewing is a common problem in chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera). It may affect the welfare of animals due to heat loss, thereby possibly impacting food and water intake to maintain body temperature. In this context, infrared...

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...

Tail-biting in pigs affects the health and welfare of the animals. Different indicators, such as the tail posture, can be used to detect tail-biting at an early stage. The aim of this study was to...

Deflighting zoo birds is a practice that receives increasing criticism due to its presumed incompatibility with animal welfare. To our knowledge, this is the first approach to address this problem in a scientific way. To...

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...

Modern day zoos and aquariums continuously assess the welfare of their animals and use evidence to make informed management decisions. Historically, many of the indicators of animal welfare used to assess the collection are negative...

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)...

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...

The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether linear and non-linear measures of heart rate variability (HRV) could be used as indicators of piglet castration pain. Thirty piglets were allocated to 1 of 4...

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...

Alternative feed supplements have shown promising effects in terms of performance, but their effects on welfare have had little evaluation. In the present study, we aimed at evaluating the effect of diet supplementation on welfare...

Several established models in human and veterinary medicine exist to evaluate an individual health or disease status. Many of these seem unsuitable for further epidemiological research aimed at discovering underlying influential factors. As a case...

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...

An increase in the frequency of hot periods, which has been observed over the past decades, determines the novel approach to livestock facilities improvement. The effects of heat stress are revealed in disorders in physiological...

The interaction of internal clocks and environmental conditions determines the daily behavioural rhythm of an animal. Due to the strong influence of light, these circadian rhythms oscillate in mammals over a cycle length of about...

A guide for animal welfare assessment of fattening pigs recommends recording some of the indicators for a sample of the animals from a herd. However, it is not certain whether the herd’s level of welfare...

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...

Welfare assessment has traditionally been performed by direct observation by humans, providing information at only selected points in time. Recently, this assessment method has been questioned, as ‘Precision Livestock Farming’ technologies may be able to...

Caring for all aspects of zoo elephants’ well-being is considered a major challenge. Providing an appropriate flooring substrate to facilitate lying rest presents a meaningful part of a holistic management concept. Investigating the impact of...

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