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. 

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...

Whether animals have emotions was historically a long-lasting question but, today, nobody disputes that they do. However, how to assess them and how to guarantee animals their welfare have become important research topics in the...

Describing certain animal behaviours as 'depression-like' or 'depressive' has become common across several fields of research. These typically involve unusually low activity or unresponsiveness and/or reduced interest in pleasure (anhedonia). While the term 'depression-like' carefully...

In order to promote the welfare of farm animals, there is a need to be able to recognize, register and monitor their affective states. Numerous studies show that just like humans, non-human animals are able...

The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a solitary and naturally territorial animal, with female hamsters being more aggressive than males. This behavior makes handling difficult because they are usually housed in groups, which can lead...

The effects of a standard protocol for euthanasia on heart rate variability (HRV) as a consequence of stress response were analyzed in this prospective clinical study. The HRV was determined in 40 horses undergoing euthanasia...

The aim of the study was to assess the effect of two different stunning methods on the level of blood stress indicators (cortisol, insulin, glucose) and rabbit meat quality. The experiment was conducted on crossbreds...

Horses kept for meat production are reared in intensive breeding farms. We employed a checklist adapted from the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) assessment protocol. Our evaluation aims to assess whether welfare indicators are influenced by...

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...

The optimal choice of euthanasia method for laboratory rodents depends on a number of factors, including the scientific goals of the study, the need to minimize animal pain and/or distress, applicable guidelines and laws, the...

Humans have shared a long history with horses and today we mainly consider horses as companions for sports and leisure activities. Previously, the human perspective of the human-horse relationship has been investigated but there has...

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...

The use of carbon dioxide (CO2) exposure as a means of animal euthanasia has received considerable attention in mammals and birds but remains virtually untested in reptiles. We measured the behavioral responses of four squamate...

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...

Horses reared for meat production can be kept in intensive breeding farms where they are housed in group pens at high stocking densities. The present study aimed to evaluate whether the expressed behaviours correlated with...

Traditional animal welfare paradigms have focused on maintaining physical health and mitigating negative impacts to wellbeing. Recently, however, the field has increasingly recognized the importance of positive welfare (i.e., mental and physical states that exceed...

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is commonly used to kill rodents. However, a large body of research has now established that CO2 is aversive to them. A multidisciplinary symposium organized by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and...

We searched a selection of the scientific literature to document evidence for, and explorations into reptile sentience. The intention of this review was to highlight; (1) to what extent reptile capability for emotions have been...

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...

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...

Attribution of emotions to horses, as well as understanding how environmental factors may influence such states, may influence owners' and caretakers' attitudes toward horse welfare. This, in turn, may influence how they manage and treat...

Timing of reward is very important when training horses. Incorrect timing can lead to confusion and deleterious behaviors and learning will be impaired. Clicker training can be used as an important tool in training. However...

A prevalent, traditional approach to horse-training is based on the belief that human dominance and leadership over horses is required to gain their respect and compliance. However, this denies the horses’ complex social organisation and...

Animal welfare assessment has traditionally relied on measures of physical health and changes in behavior and physiology related to negative emotional states such as pain and stress. However, it is now widely accepted that good...

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...

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