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. 
In conventional rearing systems, fast-growing broiler chickens commonly experience welfare issues, such as contact dermatitis, walking difficulties or a lack of expression of species-specific behaviours. Enriching their environment may be a way to improve their...
Prevention of pain in rabbits is a priority for both welfare and validity of scientific data. We aimed to determine if the rabbit grimace scale (RbtGS) could be used as a viable, rapid assessment tool...
Animal welfare is one of the most challenging issues in modern farm animal husbandry. Animal welfare indicators can be used to monitor welfare on farms or at slaughterhouses, with footpad dermatitis (FPD) being one of...
This study aimed to determine the prevalence of keel bone deviations and feather damage of laying hens in two different free-range housing systems under commercial conditions. Both of the free-range systems had an indoor barn...
Gait defects, assessed as gait score (GS), is a common welfare problem in broiler chicken production. The aim of this study was to examine whether birds with GS2 experience pain and poor locomotor ability compared...
Access to pasture is a main benefit of free-range broiler housing systems, yet the level of outdoor stocking density on broiler animal welfare remains unsettled. The growth, feather damage, pasture ranging and behaviors were assessed...
Fractures and deviations to the keel bone are common in commercial laying hens, with reported variations in occurrence across strains and breeds. The aetiology is not fully understood, however, modern genetics and selection for efficient...
Barren housing and high stocking densities may contribute to negative affective states in broiler chickens, reducing their welfare. We investigated the effects of environmental complexity and stocking density on broilers’ attention bias (measure of anxiety)...
During the development of potential new medicines or agrochemicals, an assessment of the safety profile to humans and environmental species is conducted using a range of different in silico and in vitro techniques in conjunction...
Resting behaviours make up a large part of the daily time budget of broilers. However, in intensive broiler production systems disruptions of resting behaviours occur, where resting individuals get disturbed by active individuals. Such interruptions...
Background: General anesthesia in rabbits is associated with higher morbidity and mortality relative to other mammalian species commonly anesthetized. Unique challenges related to endotracheal intubation (ETI) in rabbits contribute to this risk. Objective: To improve...
Both endotracheal tubes and supraglottic airway devices appear to provide adequate unassisted ventilation in anaesthetised rabbits. However, it is highly recommended that a capnograph is used with both airway devices to monitor ventilation changes, especially...
In this study, an appropriate visual scoring system for foot-pad dermatitis was validated, considering the histologically measured depth of the inflammation zone and the histopathological grade (no lesion, mild lesion, ulcer). The aim being to...
Reduced mobility in broilers can contribute to leg health problems. Environmental enrichment has been suggested as one approach to combat this through stimulating increased physical activity. Past studies have tested the effect of environmental enrichments...
Factors contributing to the development of keel bone damage are not well understood. This study aimed to identify behaviors and cage structures associated with acceleration events experienced by individual hens at their keels as the...
Keel bone fractures in laying hens have been described with increasing prevalence from several countries over the last twenty years and are considered one of the greatest welfare problems to the layer industry. In Denmark...
In commercial flocks of laying hens, keel bone fractures (KBFs) are prevalent and associated with behavioural indicators of pain. However, whether their impact is severe enough to induce a depressive-like state of chronic stress is...
The use of effective regimens for mitigating pain remain underutilized in research rodents despite the general acceptance of both the ethical imperative and regulatory requirements intended to maximize animal welfare. Factors contributing to this gap...
Foot-pad dermatitis (FPD) is an important indicator of animal welfare in turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo). The present study aimed to evaluate the reliability and validity of a commonly used five-point visual score (VC), assessing FPD based...
Intubation in rabbits can be difficult due to their unique anatomical features. Large incisors, long narrow oral cavities, thick tongues, and limited mobility of the temporomandibular joint make laryngeal visualization difficult. It is the hope...
Fast-growing broilers spend most their time inactive and are therefore prone to experience leg problems. Environmental enrichment that facilitates intrinsically motivated behaviours can potentially promote activity and reduce leg problems, thereby improving broiler welfare. A...
In the European research project HealthyHens, welfare indicators as well as husbandry and management conditions were recorded in 107 organic laying hen farms in eight countries. Farms were visited at peak and end of lay...
Abnormalities in bone development in humans and non-humans can lead to impaired physical and psychological health; however, evidence is lacking regarding the role of individual psychosocial factors in the development of poor bone conditions. Addressing...
The aim of this study was to assess the effect of perch positioning on laying hens’ locomotion and the resulting energy experienced at the keel. Twenty Nick Chick and 20 Brown Nick hens were trained...
Pain management in rabbits can be difficult because they are adept at hiding pain and can be stressed by handling and restraint for injection. The use of opioid analgesics with prolonged durations of activity could...

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