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. 

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Vocal communication is of major social importance in pigs. Their auditory sensitivity goes beyond the intraspecific level; studies have shown that domestic pigs are sensitive to and can learn to recognise human voices. The question...

In intensive pig farming of Western and Southern Europe, welfare concerns are still often related to barren environments and crowded conditions. Pig producers need to balance the requirements to improve welfare conditions at farm with...

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...

Scientists as well as farmers are increasingly interested in the mental capacities of pigs. Recent research has revealed surprising cognitive abilities, such as episodic memory, intentional deception and even theory of mind. Still, our knowledge...

Lack of environmental enrichment and high stocking densities in growing-finishing pigs can lead to adverse social behaviors directed to pen mates, resulting in skin lesions, lameness, and tail biting. The objective of the study was...

Understanding human-animal interactions in livestock production systems is crucial for improving animal welfare. It is therefore of general interest to investigate how livestock animals obtain information from humans. By using an object-choice paradigm, we investigated...

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of chamber stocking rate on facets of animal welfare and efficacy during euthanasia of weaned pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) with argon gas. Two hundred and...

In intensive pig farming of Western and Southern Europe, welfare concerns are still often related to barren environments and crowded conditions. Pig producers need to balance the requirements to improve welfare conditions at farm with...

A central question in the stockman-animal relationship is how animals perceive humans depending on previous interactions with them. This study aimed at measuring the influence of a previous experience with humans on subsequent reactivity to...

The study of laboratory animal behavior has increased steadily over the last decade, with expanding emphasis on a variety of commonly used species. In the United States, this trend was initially focused on species for...

Early handling of animals including tactile stimulation (TS) has been shown to have beneficial effects on the physical and psychological development of species where considerable maternal interaction, e.g. in the form of licking, already occurs...

Appropriately accommodating the pig's normal social behavior is an essential step in protecting its well-being in managed environments. Doing so is particularly important in laboratory settings in which distress due to social isolation and other...

For anyone who has housed rabbits in an artificial plastic environment, what to provide as a nonfood enrichment can be an issue. Nonfood enrichment, or environmental enrichment, can be any toy, engaging sights or sounds...

Recent studies suggest that emotional state can affect cognitive abilities of humans and non-human animals, determining biases in information processing. Negative mental states, such as anxiety or depression, induce pessimistic judgments of ambiguous stimuli. These...

Raising entire males is already common in a few European countries. It has the advantage of avoiding the pain of castration. Entire males have also a better food conversion. However, they would be more aggressive...

For groups of pigs to cope adequately with their housing conditions they need sufficient static space (occupied by the body of the pig), activity space (for movement between different functional areas and behaviours relating to...

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