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. 

Anthropogenic change is expected to alter environments at alarming rates. To predict the impact of modified environments on social behavior, we must study the relationship between environmental features and collective behavior in a genetically tractable...

Orcas are large, deep-diving cetaceans who are known for their global distribution, wide-ranging behavior, intelligence, and social complexity. They possess one of the largest and most complex brains in the mammalian kingdom. However, they are...

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...

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...

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 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...

Modern day zoos and aquariums continuously assess the welfare of their animals and use evidence to make informed management decisions. Historically, many of the indicators of animal welfare used to assess the collection are negative...

Journeying into the field to study a model organism in its natural habitats. “Seeing them in the wild and seeing what kind of substrates they are on has really helped inform that for us, and...

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...

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...

Fish welfare is still a relatively new field. As such, regulations and protocols to ensure fish welfare are currently limited and vary considerably in different jurisdictions. This is in part because of the ongoing controversy...

The management of socially complex species in captivity is challenging. Research on their social behavior improves our understanding of interactions in captive animals and captive-group management. We conducted a detailed analysis of social relationships shown...

Zebrafish is one of the world's most widely used laboratory species, and it is utilized to answer important research questions in disparate fields such as biomedicine, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, toxicology, physiology, and evolution. Despite...

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...

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...

Zebrafish are now one of the most used animal model species in scientific research worldwide. Our current knowledge of wild zebrafish is limited to an estimated range of their natural habitats and their tendencies to...

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...

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...

Cognitive stimulation has been shown to be rewarding and capable of eliciting positive emotions in several species. In contrast to the abundant learning and exploration opportunities available in nature, captive environments can be under-stimulating—with the...

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...

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...

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...

This book summarizes the basic features of living fish. It is introduced by a chapter on the diversity of a group which has over 30,000 species, the largest within the vertebrates, describing the classification systems...

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...

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