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. 
Millions of amphibians are traded annually around the world for the exotic pet industry. Their experience during both trade, and in captivity as pets, leads to numerous animal welfare issues. The poor welfare of many...
Cautery disbudding is a painful procedure performed on goat kids to prevent horn growth that may result in brain injury. Thermal damage to the cerebral cortex of the brain and subsequent neurologic disease is a...
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...
Background: Pain in horses is an emergent welfare concern, and its assessment represents a challenge for equine clinicians. This study aimed at improving pain assessment in horses through a convergent validation of existing tools: we...
Whether animals have emotions was historically a long-lasting question but, today, nobody disputes that they do. However, how to assess them and how to guarantee animals their welfare have become important research topics in the...
Describing certain animal behaviours as 'depression-like' or 'depressive' has become common across several fields of research. These typically involve unusually low activity or unresponsiveness and/or reduced interest in pleasure (anhedonia). While the term 'depression-like' carefully...
Livestock animals are sentient beings with cognitive and emotional capacities and their brain development, similar to humans and other animal species, is affected by their surrounding environmental conditions. Current intensive production systems, through the restrictions...
In order to promote the welfare of farm animals, there is a need to be able to recognize, register and monitor their affective states. Numerous studies show that just like humans, non-human animals are able...
Goat kids are frequently disbudded in intensively farmed units to reduce the number of accidental injuries to other animals and farm workers due to horn growth. The most commonly used method is thermal disbudding which...
Maternal deprivation early in life has been shown to disrupt neonates’ development. Nevertheless, separating the young animals from their dams soon after birth remains a common practice in dairy farm husbandry. This study investigated the...
Nowadays, most of the goat milk production in developed countries is done in intensive indoors production systems. In these systems, procedures such as disbudding are performed routinely. Disbudding is done in young goat kids and...
Animals are likely to appraise events as positive or negative based on their subjective perception, current state and past experiences. We tested the effects of anticipating positive (food anticipation), negative (inaccessible food) and neutral (clicker...
Weaning from milk is stressful. We aimed to investigate the effect of three weaning strategies on feed intake and behavior of dairy goat kids. Forty-five, 3-month-old Saanen cross goats were allocated to one of three...
Much environmental enrichment for laboratory animals is intended to enhance animal welfare and normalcy by providing stimulation to reduce 'boredom'. Behavioural manifestations of boredom include restless sensation-seeking behaviours combined with indicators of sub-optimal arousal. Here...
Given the paucity of published data on the effects of artificial weaning on mares, the aim of the present study was to investigate the behavioral and hormonal effects of two different weaning methods in trotter...
Limited scientific literature is available for developing 'best practices' guidelines for the management of dairy goats (Caprus hircus), particularly goat kids. Disbudding practices for kids and calves appear to be similar, however, it is important...
We evaluated the effect of pain mitigation strategies (isoflurane and meloxicam) on the behaviour and physiology of 3-week-old disbudded goat kids. Fifty Saanen does (mean ± SD, 21 ± 3 days old) were randomly allocated...
Cautery disbudding of goat kids causes thermal burns and tissue destruction, which results in acute and post-operative pain and negatively affects animal welfare. The objectives of this study were to evaluate acute cortisol concentrations and...
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...
Measuring animal stress is fundamentally important for assessing animal emotional state and welfare. Conventional methods of quantifying stress (cortisol levels, heart rate/heart rate variability) require specialist equipment and are not instantly available. Spontaneous blink rate...
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...
In this preliminary study, we compared changes in mechanical nociceptive thresholds (MNT) of calves and goat kids injected with clove oil or isoeugenol under the horn bud as a potential, more welfare-friendly alternative to hot-iron...
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 objectives of this study were to establish a donkey ethogram, followed by a donkey grimace scale to be applied to donkeys pre- and post-castration and to test if there was a notable difference in...
Interactions between zoo professionals and animals occur regularly and are believed to be enriching for animals. Little empirical information exists on how animals perceive these interactions, and particularly how the interactions affect the emotional states...

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