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. 

This study investigated the effect of milk allowance on the suitability of behavioural and physiological responses, individually and in combination, as early disease indicators. A total of 120 heifer calves were assigned into a 5...

The aim of this study was to investigate if calves’ play behaviour and non-nutritive sucking behaviour, as indirect measures of welfare status, are associated with the age of the calf when group housed, age when...

Allowing dairy cattle to access pasture can promote natural behaviour and improve their health. However, the psychological benefits are poorly understood. We compared a cognitive indicator of emotion in cattle either with or without pasture...

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...

In dairy industry, quality of produced milk must be more important than quantity without a high somatic cells count (SCC) or pathogens causing mastitis of dairy cows and consumer diseases. Preserving the good health of...

Virtual fencing involving the application of audio cues and electrical stimuli is being commercially developed for cattle. Virtual fencing has the potential to improve productivity through optimized pasture management and utilization by grazing animals. The...

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...

Pet rabbit welfare is a hidden crisis: Inappropriately housed, fed, and not routinely provided healthcare—rabbits can often suffer painful conditions and shortened lifespans. This study provides novel understanding of owners’ perceptions of rabbits’ mental capabilities...

The bedding materials used in dairy cow housing systems are extremely important for animal welfare and performance. A wide range of materials can be used as bedding for dairy cattle, but their physical properties must...

Isolation during calving is a common dairy cow behavior, however it has not been examined in large outdoor group settings. The provision of “hides” was monitored for its impact on calving location and cow–calf behavior...

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...

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...

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...

Early cow–calf separation management induced various welfare problems for dairy calves. We mimicked the maternal licking by manually brushing right after the Holstein female calves were born and during their first week of life, termed...

The aim of this study was to determine the effects of two housing systems (thermal plastic greenhouse roofs—PGR—vs. without roof—PWR) on health, welfare, and finishing performance of zebu steers in cold arid environments. A total...

Pasture access for dairy cows is highly valued both by cows and the public at large. When pasture access is not feasible, farmers can provide cows with alternative forms of outdoor access, such as an...

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...

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...

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 remains a major concern for animal welfare and productivity in modern dairy production. Even though a trend toward loose housing systems exists and the public expects livestock to be kept under conditions where freedom...

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...

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...

For many species in zoos, particularly megafauna vulnerable to heat stress, shade is a key environmental resource. However, shade availability has received comparatively less attention than other aspects of the zoo environment. In this study...

Previous studies have demonstrated that dairy cattle prefer pasture over indoor conditions especially at nighttime, which suggests they perceive pasture as an attractive place to rest. Indeed, cows avoid and spend less time lying on...

Due to its increasing pressure on dairy cows, studies that investigate how to cope with heat stress are needed. The heat stress affects multiple aspects of cows’ lives, among which their behavior and welfare. In...

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