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...
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...
Tigers (Panthera tigris spp.) are endangered in the wild; ensuring sustainable insurance populations requires careful planning within zoological collections. In captive situations, contraceptives are often used to control breeding and ensure genetically viable populations that...
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)...
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...
Optimising nest design for broiler breeders has benefits for both the animals and the producers. The welfare of the hens will increase by providing preferred housing, while also reducing eggs laid outside the nests. These...
Broiler breeders are feed-restricted during rearing to avoid the negative consequences of obesity during lay due to their genetic potential for fast growth rate. Feed restriction leads to chronic hunger, frustration and lack of satiety...
Chickens cannot independently thermoregulate at hatch and lack opportunity to behaviorally thermoregulate with a hen in the egg layer industry, thus barns are heated to thermoneutral temperatures. Dark brooders are low-energy-consuming hot plates, which may...
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...
Broiler breeders are kept for the production of fertile eggs. They face serious welfare problems like aggressive behaviour of the males towards females during mating. Furthermore, broiler breeders are usually kept without perches which are...
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...
Leg problems are highly prevalent in modern broiler production and provision of environmental enrichment could be a strategy to improve leg health. Different types of environmental enrichment have undergone evaluation. Our objective was to conduct...
On farms, female mink are exposed to acute stressors multiple times due to handling, capturing and transport with restricted movement being a typical part of the mating procedure. We hypothesised that no relocation (group NON...
The weekend effect hypothesis proposes that captive primates are more likely to give birth during times of low disturbance and reduced staff activity. The hypothesis specifically predicts that laboratory‐housed primates will be more likely to...
This article describes the rehoming of 10 laboratory female rabbits now living as a group in a private shelter.
Regular visual presence of humans is known to reduce chickens' human-generated stress responses. Here we questioned whether, more than mere visual presence, human behaviour affects laying hen behaviour and subsequently their offspring's behaviour. We hypothesized...
Feather pecking (FP) is a multifactorial problem in all housing systems. Using a case-control design we wanted to determine a set of variables which may be decisive for a flock to become case or control...
Studies investigating the welfare of commercial-line broiler chickens raised in houses with outdoor access in the tropics are scarce, and none have investigated whether responses vary according to indoor conditions. Hence, we assessed the effects...
The laying hen industry is implementing aviary systems intended to improve welfare by providing hens with more space and resources to perform species-specific behaviors. To date, limited research has examined spatial requirements of various strains...
The aim of this study was to assess hair cortisol concentrations in New Zealand white rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) that were subjected to relocation and surgery to evaluate HPA-axis activity; in addition, we used this marker...
The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 14 November 2017 in Weybridge, UK. The first session addressed meeting animals' needs and aiming for a 'good life', with the needs...
The housing conditions and environments experienced during the rearing period can influence the development of feather pecking in chickens during this time and in the subsequent laying period. The aim of this study was to...
To investigate how long relocation modified hair cortisol concentrations in New Zealand white rabbits, 19 rabbits were subjected to a change in their breeding facility at the beginning of the trial and then were kept...
Litter material and stocking density were evaluated on welfare-related variables and productive performance in broilers. Male chicks (n = 744, “Ross 308” strain) were raised on either tezontle (TEZ) or wood shavings (WS) litter, with...
In recent decades, goose production has become more specialized and widespread, and rearing geese in plastic wire-floor pens is common in China. This type of rearing pattern is more productive than other rearing patterns since...

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