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 this study was to investigate if calves’ play behaviour and non-nutritive sucking behaviour, as indirect measures of welfare status, are associated with the age of the calf when group housed, age when...

Dairy housing systems can have major implications on how freely cows move within their environment and how fully they can express their behavioral repertoire, impacting overall welfare. To ensure housing systems are meeting the needs...

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...

For gregarious species such as domestic cattle, the social environment is a very important determinant of their welfare and fitness. Understanding the complexity of cows' relationships can assist the development of management practices that are...

Pain induces deficits in appreciation of rewards (i.e. anhedonia) and variation in response to pain may be partly explained by individual differences in general expectations (i.e. optimism). Dairy calves are routinely subjected to painful procedures...

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...

The quality of the social environment should be studied as one of the welfare components of dairy herds. Licking and preference between cows are important socio-positive experiences in this context.The aims of this study were...

Captive welfare studies in odontocete species have been mostly conducted on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) while the welfare of many other species’ -including endangered species- remains poorly studied. More research is needed to find and...

While non-human primate studies have long been conducted in laboratories, and more recently at zoological parks, sanctuaries are increasingly considered a viable setting for research. Accredited sanctuaries in non-range countries house thousands of primates formerly...

Applying objective measures to assess the emotional states of animals is an important area of research and essential for improving animal welfare. In this study, we have built upon previous research to test whether ear...

We searched a selection of the scientific literature to document evidence for, and explorations into reptile sentience. The intention of this review was to highlight; (1) to what extent reptile capability for emotions have been...

Assessing emotional states of dairy calves is an essential part of welfare assessment, but standardized protocols are absent. The present study aims at assessing the emotional states of dairy calves and establishing a reliable standard...

This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...

Understanding the emotions of dairy cows is primarily important in enhancing the level of welfare and provide a better life on farm. This study explored whether eye white and ear posture can reliably contribute to...

This article describes the importance of providing laboratory animals with opportunities to engage in play, and provides a few practical ideas for how to do this.

Individual housing of dairy calves is common farm practice, but has negative effects on calf welfare. A compromise between practice and welfare may be housing calves in pairs. We compared learning performances and affective states...

The aim of this study was to examine effects of pasturing in dairy cows on claw condition (claw length, hardness) and on the prevalence of claw diseases. At claw trimming, a total of 240 Holstein-Friesian...

Many reptiles require ultraviolet-B radiation between 290 and 315 nm (UV-B) to synthesize vitamin D3 and process dietary calcium. In captivity, exposure to too little or too much UV-B can result in health problems such...

Housing cows on hard flooring is associated with increased claw disorders. Pasture access shows a positive effect on claw health, particularly for diseases that are related to moist environments (eg, digital dermatitis). Regular documentation of...

Grazing provides livestock better opportunities to act out their species-specific behavior compared to restrictive stable conditions. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of daily grazing time on welfare of dairy...

Research into the effects of intense grazing regimes on cattle behaviour and productivity will support the ethical intensification of pastoral dairy production. Two treatments were applied to two herds of 30 mid-lactation cows over 28...

Many comparative studies have focused on the emergence of solitary and social play in early development, however, few consider observer and parallel forms of play. In this study, we analyzed approximately 21 h of video recordings...

Completely updated and revised, and with a new author team, this second edition of Farm Animal Behaviour continues to provide essential information on normal and stereotypic behaviors in a wide variety of farm animals to...

The 2011 European Union Zoo Inquiry presented evidence that most zoos fail to achieve adequate levels of nonhuman animal welfare. Appropriate environmental enrichment (EE) can play a role in the promotion of welfare. However, financial...

The lack of appropriate stimuli associated with captive environments has been documented to cause several behavioural and physiological issues in captive species, including loss of natural behaviours, psychopathologies and decreased reproductive success. Providing free-ranging, naturalistic...

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