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. 

The importance of social stability and its influence on the expression of the social behaviour repertoire in domestic animals remains poorly understood, especially for affiliative behaviours and other putative socio-positive behaviours such as social play...

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...

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...

Concerns about the welfare of lactating sows housed in farrowing crates have emerged because crates physically restrict the sows and possibly compromise their behavior and comfort. The aim of this study was to identify how...

Intraspecific coalitional aggression is rare among all species, especially within stable social groups. We report here numerous cases of intraspecific lethal gang aggression within stable groups of domestic pigs. The objective was to describe this...

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)...

The aim of this study was to verify the motivation of rabbit does to social contact or seclusion. The results of two different research activities assessed in Italy (experiment 1) and Germany (experiment 2) through...

The most widespread reproductive rhythm practiced in rabbit farming is based on artificial insemination (AI) performed at around 11 days pospartum. This approach results in high production rates, but requires high yearly replacement of animals...

Temporary crating is considered as a step towards improved welfare in lactating sows. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate effects of confinement period (CP) and farrowing pen-type (PT) on health-related measures. Four...

For a long time, scientists assumed that newborns have a severely limited sense of pain (if any). However, this assumption is wrong and led to a “start of the exit” from piglet surgical castration. Some...

One way to reduce the negative impact of farrowing crates on sow welfare is to limit confinement of sows from the onset of farrowing until the end of the critical period of piglets’ life a...

In the wild, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are social but territorial. Recent surveys suggest that over half of pet rabbits are housed singly. We aimed to compare welfare in single versus paired rabbits. We predicted singletons...

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...

Previously, the benefits of early-life socialisation on later-life social development have been reported in pigs. Here we investigated the effect of pre-weaning socialisation on the later-life cognitive ability of pigs using a range of techniques...

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...

Most farrowing facilities in the United States use stalls and heat lamps to improve sow and piglet productivity. This study investigated these factors by comparing production outcomes for three different farrowing stall layouts (traditional, expanded...

Farrowing crates have traditionally been used to reduce occurrence of piglet mortality as a result of sow crushing. However the utilisation of traditional farrowing crates has been suggested to contribute to negative welfare for both...

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...

Although group housing of naturally social animals like rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is desirable for ethical reasons, social conflicts can significantly increase the risk for injuries as well as stress incidences and negatively affect their welfare...

Weaning and other regrouping events as routine work in commercial farms cause stress to pigs and compromise their welfare. Several studies found positive outcomes to mitigate weaning stress when piglets were socialized (i.e. co-mingled) or...

Changes in facial expression have been shown to be a useful tool to assess pain severity in humans and animals, but facial scales have not yet been developed for all species. A facial expression scale...

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...

The study aimed at evaluating different management protocols of grouping does in regard to aggressive interactions and the establishment of a hierarchy under commercial conditions. Fifty-seven multiparous rabbit does of the Hycole hybrid maternal line...

When sows are mixed into groups, hierarchies form and resulting aggression and stress can affect production and welfare. This study determined the effect of providing point-source materials on aggressive and play behaviors in gestating sows...

We evaluated the effects of two types of colony cages, in which rabbit does were always in a group (C1), and where they were in combi cages furnished with removable internal walls to allow both...

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