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. 
It is widely acknowledged that environmental enrichment can improve animals’ welfare and emotional state. This study used cognitive bias and response to a novel object to assess the effect of enriched housing on emotional state...
Dogs and cats have been extensively studied of late in relation to their paw preferences, with both species showing preferential motor bias at the level of the individual. Over the years, a wide range of...
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...
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...
Chronic exposure to stressful environments can negatively impact cats' health and welfare, affecting behavioral, autonomic, endocrine, and immune function, as with cats in shelters. Low-stress handling practices likely improve shelter cat welfare, but data supporting...
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...
As pets are considered members of the family, their health has received widespread attention. Since pets cannot talk and complain when they feel uncomfortable, monitoring vital signs becomes very helpful in disease detection, as well...
Elizabethan collars are used in companion animals primarily to prevent self-trauma and associated negative welfare states in animals. However, they have been anecdotally associated with negative impacts on animal health and welfare including distress, abraded/ulcerated...
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...
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...
Mikhalevich & Powell (2020) argue that it is wrong to dismiss the idea of sentience in invertebrates. Here, I expand on the evidence for crustaceans responding to noxious stimuli in ways that are not explained...
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...
Recent studies demonstrated that cats form social bonds with both conspecifics and humans. One of the key factors regulating social interactions is the transfer of emotions between the individuals. The present study aimed at investigating...
This systematic review explores the use of on-animal sensors in sheep and their potential application in objective welfare monitoring. The key questions posed were: To what extent can current scientific knowledge inform a sensor-based approach...
We searched a selection of the scientific literature to document evidence for, and explorations into reptile sentience. The intention of this review was to highlight; (1) to what extent reptile capability for emotions have been...
Our objective was to identify and characterize the types of vocalization other than meowing (VOM) in two contexts, a pleasant and an aversive situation, and to study the effect of the sex of the animal...
This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...
In recent years, there has been a great increase in the interest of "emotion" and how it can be studied and translated from animals. Emotions arise when the brain receives an external stimulus, while the...
This work investigated the differences in the reactivity of Sarda (primiparous n = 18, multiparous n = 17) and Dorset (multiparous n = 8) breeds of sheep and their singleton lambs to two challenging test...
Anticipatory behaviours may serve a useful tool in studying positive emotional states in animals. This study aimed to investigate if lambs express anticipatory behaviours for opportunities to play or a food reward and if these...
The detection and assessment of pain in animals is crucial to improving their welfare in a variety of contexts in which humans are ethically or legally bound to do so. Thus clear standards to judge...
There is evidence that the presence of a conspecific can alter the experience of pain in humans and other animals. This ‘social buffering’ may be mediated by factors such as relatedness and familiarity. This study...
Biotelemetry can contribute towards reducing animal numbers and suffering in disciplines including physiology, pharmacology and behavioural research. However, the technique can also cause harm to animals, making biotelemetry a ‘refinement that needs refining’. Current welfare...
Fear in farm animals has been extensively studied because of its close relation to animal welfare. Numerous studies have categorized the behavioral responses of animals to stimuli that can elicit a fear reaction under social...
Twenty-six reports provide detailed information of how primates can be trained to voluntarily cooperate - rather than resist - during blood collection, injection, topical drug application, blood pressure measurement, urine collection, and capture.

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