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. 

Dogs and cats use human emotional information directed to an unfamiliar situation to guide their behavior, known as social referencing. It is not clear whether other domestic species show similar socio-cognitive abilities in interacting with...

Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...

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...

Guinea pigs are often involved in animal-assisted therapy (AAT) but there is little knowledge about the effects of human contact on guinea pigs involved in AAT. The aim of this study was to investigate effects...

Emotional recognition has been demonstrated to occur between members of different species. However, the majority of studies on interspecific communication of emotions so far focused on the senses of vision and hearing while the contribution...

Examining the literature suggests equine personality is of interest to behavior and welfare scientists and those involved in the equine industry. Study and assessment of personality is critical because of the profound implications certain traits...

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...

A human–animal relationship can be developed through subsequent interactions, affected by the positive or negative emotional valence of the proceeding one. Horses implement a process of categorization to classify humans with whom they interact as...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Working Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 25 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and...

Body language is important for communication between individuals. Body language is based on the fact that the thought of performing a known action, alone, will activate the motor neurons used for the action, resulting in...

Equine assisted interventions (EAIs) include all therapeutic interventions aimed at improving human wellbeing through the involvement of horses. Due to the prominent emotional involvement traditionally characterizing their relation with humans, horses developed sophisticated communicative skills...

Care given to animals, such as grooming for horses, can be a source of well-being when carried out correctly. However, it can cause discomfort when badly perceived and lead to potentially dangerous reactions. This study...

Human body odors contain chemosignals that make species-specific communication possible. Interspecies communication studies were conducted on dogs and horses subjected to human chemosignals produced in happiness and fear emotional states. Dogs showed behaviors consistent with...

Body language is important for communication between individuals. Body language is based on the fact that the thought, alone of performing a known action will activate the motor neurons used for the action, resulting in...

Emotions are important for social animals because animals' emotions function as beneficial cues to identify valuable resources such as food or to avoid danger by providing environmental information. Emotions also enable animals to predict individuals'...

The root cause of most welfare issues for horses is human behavior – people doing, or not doing, certain care, management or training practices. In addition, there is a gap between advancing scientific knowledge about...

Guinea pigs are included in various animal-assisted interventions (AAIs), but no research has been published to date on behavioral changes in guinea pigs interacting with humans. The goal of this study was to evaluate the...

An understanding of the factors influencing the human-animal relationship is relevant in the development of welfare interventions for working equids. However, the link between the psychological attributes of animal owners, such as empathy level and...

Human-animal bond is receiving increasing attention and is thought to confer benefits on well-being and performance in working animals. One important benefit of bonding is the “safe base” an attachment figure provides, which manifests in...

Husbandry procedures are necessary for different purposes in horse breeding. The aim of the present study was to assess the aversiveness and effects on the horse-human relationship of a range of common husbandry procedures, in...

Social learning is the capacity of animals to acquire adaptive information from others. In the case of fear responses, animals can learn fearful or non-fearful responses by observing the behavior of conspecifics. Tonic immobility (TI)...

During mildly aversive healthcare procedures, horses often exhibit behaviors that may interrupt or prolong the procedure. Handler response often includes increased restraint and/or positive punishment, which can be ineffective or counterproductive. The purpose of this...

This paper describes a method in which horses learn to communicate by touching different neutral visual symbols, in order to tell the handler whether they want to have a blanket on or not. Horses were...

The study of laboratory animal behavior has increased steadily over the last decade, with expanding emphasis on a variety of commonly used species. In the United States, this trend was initially focused on species for...

For anyone who has housed rabbits in an artificial plastic environment, what to provide as a nonfood enrichment can be an issue. Nonfood enrichment, or environmental enrichment, can be any toy, engaging sights or sounds...

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