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...

Ruminants evolved in diverse landscapes of which they utilized, by choice, a diverse arrangement of plants (grasses, forbs, and trees) for food. These plants provide them with both primary (carbohydrates, protein, etc.) and secondary (phenolics...

This article describes the steps for making a DIY guinea pig or rabbit cardboard foraging ball. Pictures are provided for each step as well as the completed ball. These cardboard foraging balls can be made...

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...

According to international housing recommendations, fattening bulls should not be housed in groups of more than 12–20 animals. However, there are no scientific studies supporting these recommendations as most studies on fattening cattle refer to...

Pressure algometry can be used to quantify mechanical nociceptive threshold (MNT) in humans and animals. If reliable this may be a useful tool to examine calves for increased mechanical sensitivity, which may be induced by...

Our social relationships determine our health and well-being. In rodent models, there is now strong support for the rewarding properties of aggressive or assertive behaviors to be critical for the expression and development of adaptive...

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...

Lameness affects dairy cows worldwide and is usually associated with pain. Behavioral differences in lame compared to non-lame tie-stall-housed dairy cows might be less pronounced than in free-stall-housed, since the principle demands to a cow's...

Environmental enrichment is a key component in improving the psychological and physiological well-being of animals under professional care. Environmental enrichment involves the addition of stimuli, including objects and cognitive challenges, into the environment in order...

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 aim of the study was to assess the effect of two different stunning methods on the level of blood stress indicators (cortisol, insulin, glucose) and rabbit meat quality. The experiment was conducted on crossbreds...

Dehorning causes pain and distress to cattle, and there is a need to provide effective and practical analgesia to improve animal welfare. We conducted an experiment to determine the effect of a modified post-operative topical...

The intention of this study was to develop standards for a welfare assessment protocol by validating potential categorisation thresholds for the assessment of beef farms in New Zealand. Thirty-two measures, based on the Welfare Quality...

Dairy cattle are particularly susceptible to metritis, hyperketonemia (HYK), and mastitis in the weeks after calving. These high-prevalence transition diseases adversely affect animal welfare, milk production, and profitability. Our aim was to use prepartum behavior...

While non-human primate studies have long been conducted in laboratories, and more recently at zoological parks, sanctuaries are increasingly considered a viable setting for research. Accredited sanctuaries in non-range countries house thousands of primates formerly...

Hamsters have historically been used in our pharmacokinetic (PK) studies using the retro-orbital (RO) bleeding technique to collect blood samples. If performed incorrectly, this technique has the potential for animal welfare complications not usually seen...

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...

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...

Lameness resulting from claw lesions remains a pressing welfare issue in dairy cows. Claw trimming (CT) is a common practice for prevention and management of clinically lame cows. This review summarizes the results of studies...

Cognitive challenges may provide a form of enrichment to improve the welfare of captive animals. Primates, dolphins, and goats will voluntarily participate in learning tasks suggesting that these are rewarding, but little work has been...

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...

Euthanasia is a valuable management tool utilized on dairies to end the suffering of sick or debilitated cows. Euthanasia should be implemented if an animal’s pain cannot be adequately alleviated and if there is a...

As humans, we recognize the importance of exercise. We go to the gym, walk our dogs, and ride our horses. Even our hamsters get a wheel to run on. Considering this, it is surprising that...

Cognitive enrichment aims to provide animals with opportunities to use their cognitive skills and to promote behaviors associated with positive wellbeing. Cooperation in mammals has been recorded during various behavioral contexts such as hunting, mating...

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