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 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...

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...

Measuring vital signs is central to medical practice, but they are difficult to monitor in awake laboratory animals. We examined the feasibility of a noninvasive device [Cortrium C3 device] for telemetric assessment of respiration rate...

Swine mass depopulation refers to the destruction of large numbers of pigs and may include not only animals affected with a disease but also healthy pigs in a facility or surrounding areas. Emerging applications of...

Respiratory diseases are a major problem in the pig industry worldwide. Due to the impact of these diseases, the early identification of infected herds is essential. Computer vision technology, using RGB (red, green and blue)...

Consciousness is central to animal welfare concerns. Its assessment is most often conducted based on behavior, with a poor understanding of the correspondence between behavior and the neurobiological processes that underlie the subjective experience of...

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...

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 use of carbon dioxide (CO2) for stunning and killing animals is considered to compromise welfare due to air hunger, anxiety, fear, and pain. Despite decades of research, no alternatives have so far been found...

Low atmospheric pressure stunning (LAPS) is a slaughter technique which may be less stressful for pigs (Sus scrofa domestica) than current commercial stunning and slaughter methods. The main methods used currently for slaughtering pigs are...

Infrared thermography (IRT) or thermal imaging is increasingly being used as a non-invasive method to gain information on animals' physiological and emotional state. IRT has the potential to serve as a non-invasive quantitative assessment method...

Small laboratory animals are commonly euthanased via intraperitoneal (IP) injection of sodium pentobarbital. However, there is concern that animals may experience pain prior to loss of consciousness with this delivery route. The present study investigated...

The aim of this research was to evaluate the welfare of pre-weaned piglets euthanised using three different gas treatments: 100% carbon dioxide (CO2), 100% argon (Ar) or a mixture of 60% Ar/40% carbon dioxide (Ar/CO2)...

Current methods of euthanizing piglets are raising animal welfare concerns. Our experiment used a novel two-step euthanasia method, using nitrous oxide (N2O) for six minutes and then carbon dioxide (CO2) on compromised 0- to 7-day-old...

The most common method for the on-farm euthanasia of neonate piglets is reported to be manual blunt force trauma. This paper presents the results of research to evaluate a mechanical non-penetrating captive bolt (the Accles...

A previous study demonstrated the effectiveness of the Bock Industries Zephyr EXL non-penetrating captive bolt, using the abolition of visual-evoked potentials as a determination of brain death, in piglets in a laboratory. A second trial...

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...

To determine if mechanical blunt force trauma using a non-penetrating captive bolt was a viable method of producing an immediate stun/kill in neonate piglets (Sus scrofa domesticus) as an alternative to manual blunt force trauma...

The objectives of this research were to evaluate the effect of age and delivering method during carbon dioxide (CO2) euthanasia on the welfare of pigs (Sus scrofa). In Experiment 1, pigs aged 1, 2, 3...

The commercial meat rabbit industry is without validated on-farm euthanasia methods, potentially resulting in inadequate euthanasia protocols. We evaluated blunt force trauma (BFT), a mechanical cervical dislocation device (MCD), and a non-penetrating captive bolt device...

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...

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...

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...

The concentration of glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM) in rabbit faeces has been suggested as a non-invasive indicator of stress. In the present study, GCM concentrations were measured in faeces of fattening rabbits kept in groups of...

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