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. 

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...

We investigated the effect of different farrowing systems on the behavior of sows and piglets. In total, 22 hybrid sows (Yorkshire × Landrace) were randomly assigned into three farrowing systems, farrowing crate (FC), free farrowing...

Enriched environments are known to beneficially affect the behavior of pigs, as compared with barren pens. The influence of enrichment may, however, depend on pigs' early life housing experiences. The aim of this study was...

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...

This study investigated the effects of two factors, enriched environment (EE) and different crossbreeds, on the maternal behavior and physiology of Min-pig hybrid sows. The analysis was performed on a total of 72 multiparous sows...

A major problem in conventional pig production systems is the occurrence of abnormal behaviours such as tail biting. Tail biting is a multifactorial problem, but it seems that a lack of proper enrichment materials prevents...

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...

This study addressed the impact of early and later life environmental enrichment, and their combination, on specific antibody responses and peripheral blood leukocyte subpopulations in pigs. Pigs were kept in either barren (B1) or enriched...

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...

This study investigated the effects of providing lucerne hay on the behaviour and the performance of sows housed in farrowing crates during farrowing and lactation. Seventy-two mixed parity sows received either 1 kg lucerne hay...

Studies on environmental enrichment for weaned pigs have predominantly focused on stimulating exploration through “nonedible toys.” The research on edible enrichment objects is very limited. For this reason, the aim of this study was to...

A recent discussion on the Laboratory Animal Refinement and Enrichment Forum (LAREF) focused on new enrichment ideas for rabbits. Contributors shared their experiences about which toys and treats get rave reviews from rabbits.

Tail biting remains a common problem in pig production. As producers are reluctant to use straw to reduce this behaviour, we review studies on the effectiveness of other types of enrichment. Roughage, hessian sacks, compost...

EC Directive 2001/93 requires that all pigs have access to proper investigation and manipulation materials. Intensively farmed pigs in Europe are frequently provided with a short metal chain with or without an indestructible object attached...

In fully slatted systems, tail biting is difficult to manage when pigs’ tails are not docked because loose enrichment material can obstruct slurry systems. This pilot study sought to determine: a) whether intact-tailed pigs can...

An increasing public concern over the welfare of livestock species is motivating more producers to consider changes to production practices. Providing environmental enrichment for intensively housed animals is one such potentially welfare-enhancing change. The goal...

In order for a scientific project involving animals to run smoothly, it is essential that the Animal Technologists have a good understanding of both the animals they are dealing with and of the project itself...

Good husbandry conditions on farms is of key importance for assuring animal welfare. One of the most important legal documents regulating the rules of maintaining pigs is the Directive 2008/120/EC, which states that group-housed pigs...

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...

Tail biting is a common issue within commercial pig production. It is mainly an indicator of inadequate housing environment and results in reduced health welfare and production. To reduce the impact of tail biting, pigs...

Pig producers are required to provide environmental enrichment to provide pigs the opportunity to perform investigative and manipulative behaviours (EU directive 2001/93/EC). Preventing enrichment from losing its novelty and decreasing the rate at which animals...

This study aimed to evaluate whether adding straw to a loose-farrowing house promotes maternal functions and production. Forty-eight sows (Landrace× Large White) were housed in either a farrowing pen without straw (C, n = 24)...

Our goal was to assess the effects of environmental enrichment during gestation on the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA) and behavior of offspring. In order to test our hypothesis, we kept 18 sows (Sus scrofa domesticus) in...

The goal of this study was to identify practical enrichments for sows in partially or fully slatted pen systems. Four treatments were applied: (1) Constant: constant provision of wood on chain; (2) Rotate: rotation of...

The aim of this research was to evaluate the possible usefulness of mirrors in improving rabbit behavior in a free-range breeding system. Three groups (each consisting of nine replicates of three animals) were compared: isolated...

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