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. 

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...

Personality is often defined as the behaviour of individual animals that is consistent across contexts and over time. Personality traits may become unstable during stages of ontogeny from infancy to adulthood, especially during major periods...

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...

Feed particles are preferred for foraging and they are also a stimulus for sham dustbathing. Most sham dustbathing bouts start with bill raking in the feed by caged hens. As hens often exhibit a floor...

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...

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...

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...

The assessment of personality in farm animals and its relation to other behavioural and physiological traits is of growing scientific and practical interest. Therefore, the aims of the present study were first to assess the...

Cattle mother-offspring contact calls encode individual-identity information; however, it is unknown whether cattle are able to maintain individuality when vocalising to familiar conspecifics over other positively and negatively valenced farming contexts. Accordingly, we recorded 333...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Working Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 25 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Free-range laying hen systems provide individuals a choice between indoor and outdoor areas where range use may be socially influenced. This study used radio-frequency identification technology to track the ranging of individually-tagged hens housed in...

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...

Recent research suggests that personality, defined as consistent individual behavioral variation, in farm animals could be an important factor when considering their health, welfare, and productivity. However, behavioral tests are often performed individually and they...

Many dairy cows in the developed world are now housed exclusively indoors with fewer than 5% of the 10 million lactating cows in the United States having access to pasture during the grazing season. Indoor...

Cows on two separate farms were submitted to a 6 d preference test, repeated four times, consisting of three 2 d phases (3 h d−1 phase−1): forced-indoor, forced-outdoor, and free-choice. A majority of cows on...

Anticipatory behaviours may serve a useful tool in studying positive emotional states in animals. This study aimed to investigate if lambs express anticipatory behaviours for opportunities to play or a food reward and if these...

Despite growing interest in promoting positive welfare, rather than just alleviating poor welfare, potential measures of good welfare, and means to provide it, have remained elusive. In humans social support improves stress-coping abilities, health, and...

Each chapter follows a consistent pattern describing the behavioral characteristics of the species featured. Reference is made to the natural state before domestication, leading us through the various changes to the present, demonstrating along the...

The Guide for the Care and Use of Animals and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (AWR) outline minimum space requirements for laboratory animals, including rabbits. These documents encourage housing of animals in enclosures that allow...

Concerns for the lives of animals have been voiced for centuries, with concerns about the welfare of agricultural animals increasing since the 1960s. Animal welfare concerns arise for many reasons: care about the quality of...

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