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. 

Assessing the animal welfare state is a challenge given the subjective individual cognitive and emotional processing involved. Electroencephalography (EEG) spectrum analysis has proved an ecologically valid recording situation to assess the link between brain processes...

Efficient and sensitive animal pain detection approaches are increasingly studied with the goal of improving animal welfare and monitoring the efficacy of treatment and rehabilitation. The aim of this study was to determine the potential...

Steroid-induced osteonecrosis of the femoral head (SONFH) is a condition documented in humans and animals exposed to chronic steroid administration. The rabbit has become a preferred animal model for investigating the pathogenesis and treatment of...

The regulations for minimal space and direction of travel for land transport in horses vary worldwide and there is currently no definitive guidance to promote equine health and welfare. This study evaluated the effects of...

Rabbits are the third species in terms of number of animals reared for meat production in the world. However, in comparison to other species, very few studies have focused on their welfare. The aim of...

Several previous studies have shown that working conditions (including riding) can induce stress in horses. Riders’ actions and postures, when inappropriate, induce stress and conflict behaviours during riding and welfare impairment and negative emotional states...

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small and highly conserved non-coding RNA molecules that orchestrate a wide range of biological processes through the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. An intriguing aspect in identifying these molecules as biomarkers is...

Equine orthopedic pain scales are targeted towards horses with moderate to severe orthopedic pain. Improved assessment of pain behavior and pain-related facial expressions at rest may refine orthopedic pain detection for mild lameness grades. Therefore...

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...

Objective pain assessment in donkeys is of vital importance for improving welfare in a species that is considered stoic. This study presents the construction and testing of two pain scales, the Equine Utrecht University Scale...

During the last decade, a number of pain assessment tools based on facial expressions have been developed for horses. While all tools focus on moveable facial muscles related to the ears, eyes, nostrils, lips, and...

Dental disorders can cause discomfort and chronic pain, affecting the athletic performance and welfare of the horses. However, dental disorders may not be manifested with recognizable clinical signs and may, therefore, lead to late diagnosis...

The assessment of animal welfare poses numerous challenges, yet an emerging approach is the consolidation of existing knowledge into new frameworks which can offer standardised approaches to welfare assessment across a variety of contexts. Multiple...

Measuring animal stress is fundamentally important for assessing animal emotional state and welfare. Conventional methods of quantifying stress (cortisol levels, heart rate/heart rate variability) require specialist equipment and are not instantly available. Spontaneous blink rate...

Pain assessment is very important for monitoring welfare and quality of life in horses. To date, no studies have described pain scales for objective assessment of pain in foals. Studies in other species have shown...

Animal welfare is defined as a chronic state reflecting an individual’s subjective perception of its situation. Because it is possible to be in a good welfare state and nevertheless experience acute fear or pain, and...

Knowledge of the welfare status of wild animals is vital for informing debates about the ways in which we interact with wild animals and their habitats. Currently, there is no published information about how to...

Nociceptive threshold (NT) testing is widely used for the study of pain and its alleviation. The end point is a normal behavioural response, which may be affected by restraint or unfamiliar surroundings, leading to erroneous...

Horses have evolved to show little indication of discomfort or disability when in the presence of potential predators, including humans. This natural characteristic complicates the recognition of pain in equine patients. It has been our...

Assessing and treating cardiovascular disease (or heart disease) is a growing concern for institutions housing great apes, as it is a major cause of mortality in all four taxa managed in human care. As part...

Infra-red thermography (IRT) is a non-invasive tool for measuring eye temperature as an indicator of stress and welfare in animals. Previous studies state that images are taken from 90° but do not specify a reference...

The objectives of this study were to establish a donkey ethogram, followed by a donkey grimace scale to be applied to donkeys pre- and post-castration and to test if there was a notable difference in...

In the past few decades, there has been an increase in the number of zoo-based touchscreen studies of animal cognition around the world. Such studies have contributed to the field of comparative cognition despite the...

Data are available in the scientific literature concerning the quality and usefulness of donkey milk for human consumption. However, there is a lack of studies related to the understanding of the welfare of dairy donkeys...

A key welfare problem for horses is that people commonly fail to recognise, and consequently neglect to resolve, equine behavioural signs of distress, worsening the welfare of the horse and potentially putting the safety of...

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