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. 

Animal welfare is one of the most challenging issues in modern farm animal husbandry. Animal welfare indicators can be used to monitor welfare on farms or at slaughterhouses, with footpad dermatitis (FPD) being one of...

This study aimed to determine the prevalence of keel bone deviations and feather damage of laying hens in two different free-range housing systems under commercial conditions. Both of the free-range systems had an indoor barn...

Shelters are frequently used for fish rearing to improve welfare conditions. In this study, whether Nile tilapia prefers specific shelter colors was evaluated. Thus, fish preference for white, red, blue, green or yellow shelters was...

To date, Qualitative Behavior Assessment (QBA) has not been used to measure the welfare of pre-partum Zebu heifers treated with practices of positive handling. The study objective was to investigate the effect of brushing as...

Gait defects, assessed as gait score (GS), is a common welfare problem in broiler chicken production. The aim of this study was to examine whether birds with GS2 experience pain and poor locomotor ability compared...

Environmental enrichment (EE) can increase the environmental complexity of feedlots by providing mental and physical stimulation. The objectives of the study were to 1) identify hourly patterns of feedlot steer behaviour and 2) evaluate the...

Animals are often kept in conditions with low environmental complexity and for long periods in barren artificial environments. This has been shown to lead to poor welfare in many species of animals. We assessed the...

The concept of the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement) has been used as a framework for improving the welfare of laboratory animals for the last half century. By establishing an animal-centric view on housing and...

Access to pasture is a main benefit of free-range broiler housing systems, yet the level of outdoor stocking density on broiler animal welfare remains unsettled. The growth, feather damage, pasture ranging and behaviors were assessed...

We tested whether territorial fish (Nile tilapia) perceive body tactile stimulation as a positive or negative resource. Individual male fish were placed for eight days in an aquarium containing a rectangular PVC frame, which was...

Consistent with boredom, prior work has found that mink raised in non-enriched (NE) or enriched (E) conditions differ in their motivations to seek stimulation: NE mink spent more time oriented towards and in contact with...

The objective of this study was to determine the effects of social housing, the provision of physical enrichment, and the interaction between the two on calf growth, behaviour and fearfulness. Forty-eight calves were randomly allocated...

To avoid killing day-old male chicks, one possibility is to keep dual-purpose chicken strains. Here, the hens were kept for egg production, and the roosters were kept for meat production. Both sexes had moderate performances...

This simple DIY training treat is great for NHP, swine, rabbits, rodents, and dogs. Note that dehydrated watermelon may resemble muscle tissue!

Fractures and deviations to the keel bone are common in commercial laying hens, with reported variations in occurrence across strains and breeds. The aetiology is not fully understood, however, modern genetics and selection for efficient...

To access resources in commercial laying houses hens must move between levels with agility to avoid injury. This study considered whether providing ramps during rear improved the ability of birds to transition between levels. Twelve...

Domestic fowl have been demonstrated to individually differ in personality, dictating reactions to environmental stimuli. Free-range chickens, Gallus gallus domesticus, show individual range use variation, which may be related to personality differences. Enrichment can also...

Barren housing and high stocking densities may contribute to negative affective states in broiler chickens, reducing their welfare. We investigated the effects of environmental complexity and stocking density on broilers’ attention bias (measure of anxiety)...

Playing music or natural sounds to animals in human care is thought to have beneficial effects. An analysis of published papers on the use of human-based music with animals demonstrates a variety of different results...

During the development of potential new medicines or agrochemicals, an assessment of the safety profile to humans and environmental species is conducted using a range of different in silico and in vitro techniques in conjunction...

This research evaluates the economic sustainability of rabbit farms using different housing systems—bicellular (BI), conventional dual-purpose (DP) and enriched cages designed according to the World Rabbit Science Association guidelines (WRSA)—through a field-based study involving six...

Heat stress is one of the most detrimental environmental challenges affecting the biological process and the related production performance of farm animals, especially in poultry. Commercial laying hens have been bred (selected) for high egg...

Effects of environmental enrichment on activity, behaviour, walking ability, contact dermatitis and performance were investigated in fast- and slower-growing broiler chickens. A total of 840 day-old male broilers, 420 of a fast-growing strain (Ross 308)...

Welfare in aquaculture is a pressing topic. One of the main measures to improve the life of farmed fish is implementing environmental enrichment, which can include the addition of structural covers to rearing tanks. Here...

Resting behaviours make up a large part of the daily time budget of broilers. However, in intensive broiler production systems disruptions of resting behaviours occur, where resting individuals get disturbed by active individuals. Such interruptions...

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