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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

The use of carbon dioxide (CO2) exposure as a means of animal euthanasia has received considerable attention in mammals and birds but remains virtually untested in reptiles. We measured the behavioral responses of four squamate...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Common loons (Gavia immer) are diving waterbirds that are particularly challenging to keep in captivity due to their specific behavioral and physiologic needs, special housing requirements, and susceptibility to stress‐related disease. We report a novel...

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...

The Becton Dickinson (BD) Research Animal Care Program has developed an acclimation and enrichment program that has enhanced animal welfare for studies requiring single housing, contributed to a culture of care, increased transparency, and improved...

Hot-iron disbudding, a routine procedure that prevents horn bud growth through cauterization, is painful for calves. The resulting burns remain sensitive to touch for weeks, but it is unknown whether calves experience ongoing, non-evoked pain...

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...

The quality of the animal-human relationship and, consequently, the welfare of animals can be improved by gentle interactions such as stroking and talking. The perception of different stimuli during these interactions likely plays a key...

This article describes the care of central bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) as well as Pygmy bearded dragons (Pogona henrylawsoni). It includes information on housing, feeding, handling and sexing technique, as well as the general health...

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