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. 
In conventional rearing systems, fast-growing broiler chickens commonly experience welfare issues, such as contact dermatitis, walking difficulties or a lack of expression of species-specific behaviours. Enriching their environment may be a way to improve their...
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...
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...
In aquatic ecology, studies have commonly employed a tagging technique known as visible implant elastomer (VIE). This method has not been widely adopted by the zebrafish research community and also lacks refinement with regard to...
The teleost zebrafish (Danio rerio), an established model for human skeletal diseases, is reared under controlled conditions with defined parameters for temperature and photoperiod. Studies aimed at defining the proper rearing density have been performed...
In a 2018 AALAS webinar on Sheep and Goat Analgesia, Dr. Susie Vogel, a small ruminant expert, introduced the concept of getting sheep and goats to willingly take medication by putting it in a tasty...
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)...
Severe feather pecking (SFP) is a major animal welfare problem in layers. It results in pain and injuries in the affected animal. It was the aim of this study to gain insight into the actual...
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...
The zebrafish is becoming an increasingly popular research animal around the world. Its welfare is affected by an array of environmental factors, such as food access and water quality. Holding density is an important welfare...
The occurrence of stereotypies in captive animals may indicate restrictions in animal welfare. In cattle, common stereotypies are tongue playing, manipulation of objects, or conspecifics. However, to our knowledge, the occurrence of stereotypies in fattening...
Feather pecking is a prominent issue in the commercial egg industry, associated with economic losses and welfare problems. A non-systematic literature search suggests that studies on feather pecking are predominantly concerned with applied research goals...
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...
Broiler breeders are feed-restricted during rearing to avoid the negative consequences of obesity during lay due to their genetic potential for fast growth rate. Feed restriction leads to chronic hunger, frustration and lack of satiety...
Housing systems and environmental features can influence beef cattle welfare. To date, little information has been synthesized on this topic. The aim of this scoping review was to examine the relationship between housing and welfare...
The aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of environmental enrichment (EE), in the form of a cattle brush, on feedlot cattle behavior, productivity and stress physiology. Steers were blocked by weight...
Fur-chewing is a common problem in chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera). It may affect the welfare of animals due to heat loss, thereby possibly impacting food and water intake to maintain body temperature. In this context, infrared...
This is the 5th volume of selected discussions that took place on the electronic Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum between February 2016 and December 2019. The forum was created in October 2002; it allows...
The most widespread reproductive rhythm practiced in rabbit farming is based on artificial insemination (AI) performed at around 11 days pospartum. This approach results in high production rates, but requires high yearly replacement of animals...
This study aimed at assessing whether a reduction in stocking density (SKD) would mitigate lameness and positively affect the performance and health of Charolais bulls in an Italian commercial farm. Bulls were distributed in groups...
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...
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of additional enrichment materials (EMs; pecking stones and alfalfa bales) on the occurrence of plumage damage, skin injuries, and toe injuries, with an emphasis on...
Leg problems are highly prevalent in modern broiler production and provision of environmental enrichment could be a strategy to improve leg health. Different types of environmental enrichment have undergone evaluation. Our objective was to conduct...
Feather pecking is a continuous welfare challenge in the housing of egg-laying hens. Canada is currently making the transition from conventional cages to alternative housing systems. However, feather damage (FD) among laying hens due to...

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