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. 
Increased environmental complexity can improve animal welfare, depending on the resources provided and use by the animal. We provided chickens either with physical items that posed no biosecurity risk and were inexpensive (balls, chains, perches...
A negative human-animal relationship (HAR) from the perspective of the animal is a limiting factor affecting farm animal welfare, as well as farm animal productivity. Research in farm animals has elucidated sequential relationships between stockperson...
Injurious pecking, commonly controlled by beak trimming (BT), is a widespread issue in laying hens associated with thwarted foraging. This controlled study compared the effect in intact and beak-trimmed pullets of providing pecking pans to...
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...
Feather pecking and cannibalism are behavioral disorders that cause animal-welfare-relevant and economic problems. To mitigate these problems, the beaks of conventionally reared turkeys are usually already trimmed in the hatcheries. To find an alternative to...
Severe feather pecking (SFP) is a major animal welfare problem in layers. It results in pain and injuries in the affected animal. It was the aim of this study to gain insight into the actual...
Laboratory Animal Professionals experience many positive and rewarding interactions when caring for and working with research animals. However, these professionals also may experience conflicting feelings and exhaustion when the work is stressful due to factors...
We conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate the association between euthanasia and compassion fatigue among employees working in animal research at a large academic medical center. In summary, animal research workers who euthanize animals reported...
Positive stockperson attitudes to his or her animals is associated with a positive behavioural response in the animals and in other indicators assumed to reflect a high level of welfare as well as increased productivity...
Beak trimming in laying hens limits the negative consequences of injurious pecking, but could be prohibited by future regulations. This study assessed a combination of management strategies during the rearing period (objects, perches, music, human...
Deflighting zoo birds is a practice that receives increasing criticism due to its presumed incompatibility with animal welfare. To our knowledge, this is the first approach to address this problem in a scientific way. To...
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...
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...
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...
This is a literature review of the effects of humans' relationships with farm animals on animal productivity and welfare, including the following topics: definition of the concept and description of different tests that have been...
Infrared beak treatment has less of a negative impact on laying hen welfare compared to other methods of beak treatment; however, it is still not fully understood how infrared beak treatment affects the beak tissue...
The actions of human caretakers strongly influence animals living under human care. Here, we consider how intentional and unintentional signals provided by caretakers can inform our assessment of animals' well-being as well as help to...
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...
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...
The poultry team at The Pirbright Institute reviewed existing husbandry practices and trialled several refinement practices. The objective was to provide the birds used in research with an environment which enables them to express their...
This review is designed to assist both individuals and organizations involved in animal-based research to understand and appreciate the importance and potential risks of compassion fatigue and euthanasia stress. We reviewed current literature regarding compassion...
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...
Repeated injections in rats and mice are typically done via the tail vein. For hamsters, the tail is not an option. In this paper we explore the development and refinement of IV dosing in the...
Automated monitoring of behaviour can offer a wealth of information in circumstances where observing behaviour is difficult or time consuming. However, this often requires attaching monitoring devices to the animal which can alter behaviour, potentially...
Oxytocin has been well researched in association with psychological variables and is widely accepted as a key modulator of human social behaviour. Previous work indicates involvement of oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)...

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