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. 

Confinement and restriction of movement are a reality for most dairy cows. Providing outdoor access is one method to increase movement opportunities. However, leading cows to an outdoor exercise area increases their exposure to manipulations...

Relocating laboratory animal research from one animal facility room to another in advance of major renovations can be a daunting task for scientists and animal care personnel alike. This is especially so regarding controlled lighting...

The bedding materials used in dairy cow housing systems are extremely important for animal welfare and performance. A wide range of materials can be used as bedding for dairy cattle, but their physical properties must...

Due to its increasing pressure on dairy cows, studies that investigate how to cope with heat stress are needed. The heat stress affects multiple aspects of cows’ lives, among which their behavior and welfare. In...

The objective of this study was to evaluate effects of environmental enrichment on play behaviour in fast-growing broiler chickens. Chicks (19 of each sex) were randomly assigned to 6 non-enriched (NE) pens and 6 pens...

Plasma lipid and glucose levels are important parameters for evaluating the onset and development of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. In clinical and experimental studies of humans or mice, fasting is often required before testing plasma...

The aim of this study was to determine the effects of two housing systems (thermal plastic greenhouse roofs—PGR—vs. without roof—PWR) on health, welfare, and finishing performance of zebu steers in cold arid environments. A total...

Threshold temperatures for cold stress in sheep are not well understood, the available literature is somewhat dated and reports relate to winter temperatures that are relatively benign. Sheep’s preferences for outdoor versus indoor environments, when...

Environmental enrichment promotes sensory and motor stimulation for species-typical behaviors, which in turn enhance animal well-being. For farmed Galliformes, housing systems often limit enrichment to bedding and litter, that simultaneously act as material for dustbathing...

Beak trimming in laying hens limits the negative consequences of injurious pecking, but could be prohibited by future regulations. This study assessed a combination of management strategies during the rearing period (objects, perches, music, human...

In hot arid and semi-arid regions, heat stress is a major constraint in animal production due to prolonged summers with high temperatures. In dairy husbandry, the desert cooler and evaporative cooling system are effectively used...

Little research has been carried out into how guinea pigs are cared for in the UK, and information regarding potential welfare issues is sparse. This study was designed to examine the five welfare needs, collecting...

Dairy calves must be fed appropriately to meet their nutritional needs, supporting optimal growth and development to achieve the recommended target age at first calving (AFC) of 24 months. Traditional restricted milk feeding practices suppress...

Sheep lameness is a major concern among farmers and policymakers with significant impacts on animal welfare standards as well as financial and production performance. The present study attempts to identify the relative importance of environmental...

Fast-growing broilers spend most their time inactive and are therefore prone to experience leg problems. Environmental enrichment that facilitates intrinsically motivated behaviours can potentially promote activity and reduce leg problems, thereby improving broiler welfare. A...

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...

In the wild, excreta soiled surroundings can attract predators and spread disease. Yet, farmers rear broiler chicks in large barns with stocking densities that prevent excreta segregation. To measure chicks’ motivation to access unsoiled bedding...

In the European research project HealthyHens, welfare indicators as well as husbandry and management conditions were recorded in 107 organic laying hen farms in eight countries. Farms were visited at peak and end of lay...

First-week mortality is an important performance index as well as an important welfare indicator. The aim of the present study was to identify internal (individual-dependent) and external (management or environmental) factors that could influence the...

Assessing animal welfare is necessary from animal behavior and product quality/quantity perspectives. Birds have a unique visual system and see in the range of 315-750 nm. Most of their behavior is mediated by vision. Lighting...

Weaning from milk is stressful. We aimed to investigate the effect of three weaning strategies on feed intake and behavior of dairy goat kids. Forty-five, 3-month-old Saanen cross goats were allocated to one of three...

Chickens cannot independently thermoregulate at hatch and lack opportunity to behaviorally thermoregulate with a hen in the egg layer industry, thus barns are heated to thermoneutral temperatures. Dark brooders are low-energy-consuming hot plates, which may...

A widespread management practice in commercial dairy farms is to stop milk production artificially commonly 2 months before expected calving, in a process termed drying-off. Dry-off management normally encompasses dietary changes as well as abrupt...

Natural light with ultraviolet spectrum (UV) influences the birds´ perception, the reflectivity of their plumage and affects bird behavior. Therefore, in Germany, laying hens kept in barns should be provided with daylight inlets. Nevertheless, lighting...

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...

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