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. 

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...

Australian sheep routinely undergo painful surgical husbandry procedures without anaesthesia or analgesia. Electroencephalography (EEG) has been shown to be a successful measure of pain in livestock under a general anaesthetic. The aim of this study...

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...

This article describes the steps for making a DIY guinea pig or rabbit cardboard foraging ball. Pictures are provided for each step as well as the completed ball. These cardboard foraging balls can be made...

Given the paucity of published data on the effects of artificial weaning on mares, the aim of the present study was to investigate the behavioral and hormonal effects of two different weaning methods in trotter...

A human–animal relationship can be developed through subsequent interactions, affected by the positive or negative emotional valence of the proceeding one. Horses implement a process of categorization to classify humans with whom they interact as...

Capybaras, also known as “water pigs,” are the world’s largest rodent. Although these animals are closely related to guinea pigs, with a shoulder height of approximately 2 ft, coarse brown fur, and partially webbed feet...

In semi-natural mixed-sex groups, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) organize their social life by forming a hierarchy, which is characterized by linearity and stability. Compared to the natural environment, many factors are different in contemporary breeding systems...

In the equestrian world, two different types of management can be distinguished: traditional management and natural boarding. The aim of this research was to compare hormonal, hematological and immunological parameters of 47 horses kept in...

This review focuses on associations of cortisol and the hormone ghrelin on abnormal oral behaviors, predominantly stereotypic behavior, in horses. Abnormal oral behaviors are prevalent in the stabled horse population. Feeding practice and satiety seem...

Female lambs have a stronger attachment with their mothers and show a greater susceptibility to stressors than male lambs. Male lambs grow faster than female lambs do, achieving a greater nutritional independence from their mothers...

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...

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...

Examining the literature suggests equine personality is of interest to behavior and welfare scientists and those involved in the equine industry. Study and assessment of personality is critical because of the profound implications certain traits...

Faecal soiling is one of the welfare indicators in the AWIN welfare assessment protocol for sheep (Ovis aries) and is measured by dag scores. Studies on dag scoring for ewes with docked and undocked tails...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Ensuring that laboratory rodent pain is well managed underpins the ethical acceptability of working with these animals in research. Appropriate treatment of pain in laboratory rodents requires accurate assessments of the presence or absence of...

Threshold temperatures for cold stress in sheep are not well understood, the available literature is somewhat dated and reports relate to winter temperatures that are relatively benign. Sheep’s preferences for outdoor versus indoor environments, when...

The Becton Dickinson (BD) Research Animal Care Program has developed an acclimation and enrichment program that has enhanced animal welfare for studies requiring single housing, contributed to a culture of care, increased transparency, and improved...

Domesticated horses mainly live in individual boxes, a housing system reported as compromising animal welfare. A common practice in riding schools involves offering a temporary period on pasture with conspecifics to alleviate the impact of...

This work provides an overview of the role of chemical communication in horse behavior and addresses the potential usefulness of this knowledge for management practices and animal welfare. First, we present an outline of the...

Ruminants evolved in diverse landscapes of which they utilized, by choice, a diverse arrangement of plants (grasses, forbs, and trees) for food. These plants provide them with both primary (carbohydrates, protein, etc.) and secondary (phenolics...

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