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 feed restriction applied during rearing of broiler breeders inflicts chronic hunger, and frustration due to unfulfilled behavioural needs for feeding. To alleviate the welfare problems associated with feed restriction, qualitative feed restriction allows a...

Environmental enrichment promotes sensory and motor stimulation for species-typical behaviors, which in turn enhance animal well-being. For farmed Galliformes, housing systems often limit enrichment to bedding and litter, that simultaneously act as material for dustbathing...

Chickens under appropriate light–dark programs can develop diurnal rhythms. However, actual needs of layer pullets for the light and dark environments are not fully understood. This study was to investigate the diurnal rhythms of pullets...

Assessing animal welfare is necessary from animal behavior and product quality/quantity perspectives. Birds have a unique visual system and see in the range of 315-750 nm. Most of their behavior is mediated by vision. Lighting...

In the European research project HealthyHens, welfare indicators as well as husbandry and management conditions were recorded in 107 organic laying hen farms in eight countries. Farms were visited at peak and end of lay...

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...

Restrictively fed broiler breeders are known to have increased motivation to explore and reduced fearfulness because hunger increases the motivation to search for and to acquire food, forcing the birds to face and engage with...

Feed particles are preferred for foraging and they are also a stimulus for sham dustbathing. Most sham dustbathing bouts start with bill raking in the feed by caged hens. As hens often exhibit a floor...

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...

The lighting spectrum used in modern poultry production commonly lacks significant amounts of ultraviolet light; however, poultry can perceive the ultraviolet spectrum unlike humans and little research has been done to investigate the importance of...

In the wild, excreta soiled surroundings can attract predators and spread disease. Yet, farmers rear broiler chicks in large barns with stocking densities that prevent excreta segregation. To measure chicks’ motivation to access unsoiled bedding...

Fast-growing broilers spend most their time inactive and are therefore prone to experience leg problems. Environmental enrichment that facilitates intrinsically motivated behaviours can potentially promote activity and reduce leg problems, thereby improving broiler welfare. A...

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...

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...

Natural light with ultraviolet spectrum (UV) influences the birds´ perception, the reflectivity of their plumage and affects bird behavior. Therefore, in Germany, laying hens kept in barns should be provided with daylight inlets. Nevertheless, lighting...

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...

Plasma lipid and glucose levels are important parameters for evaluating the onset and development of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. In clinical and experimental studies of humans or mice, fasting is often required before testing plasma...

First-week mortality is an important performance index as well as an important welfare indicator. The aim of the present study was to identify internal (individual-dependent) and external (management or environmental) factors that could influence the...

The soiling of bedding on modern turkey farms combined with turkeys’ reduced ability and opportunity to perch and roost at elevation, forces them to spend most, if not all, of their time in contact with...

Under intensive rearing conditions, the welfare of broiler chickens may be at risk depending on genotype and sex, due to their different growth rates. The practice of quantitative feed restriction may also impact on welfare...

Even though aviary systems provide a range of benefits for laying hens in terms of animal welfare, falls and collisions have been observed in experimental settings. These falls are likely stressful for the birds and...

The gut microbiota of chicken has received much attention due to its importance for bird health, food safety, and performance. In the United States, the impending transition to cage-free housing environments has raised many questions...

Natural mating colony cages for layer breeders have become commonplace for layer breeders in China. However, feather pecking (FP) and cannibalism are prominent in this system. The objective of this study was to investigate the...

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...

In fiscal year 2016, agricultural animals such as swine, sheep, goats, and cattle represented 10% of the 820 812 animals used in USDA-regulated research. In addition to traditional agricultural animals, research studies using captive wildlife...

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