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. 

Throughout their evolutionary history, humans have tried to domesticate a variety of wild terrestrial mammals, resulting in a limited number that has been successfully domesticated. Among these domesticated species, domestic goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) are...

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...

Dogs and cats use human emotional information directed to an unfamiliar situation to guide their behavior, known as social referencing. It is not clear whether other domestic species show similar socio-cognitive abilities in interacting with...

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...

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...

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...

Emotional recognition has been demonstrated to occur between members of different species. However, the majority of studies on interspecific communication of emotions so far focused on the senses of vision and hearing while the contribution...

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 root cause of most welfare issues for horses is human behavior – people doing, or not doing, certain care, management or training practices. In addition, there is a gap between advancing scientific knowledge about...

The purpose of this study was to quantitatively assess gait characteristics and weight-bearing forces during ambulation in goats free of lameness using a pressure-sensing walkway as a biometric tool for stride, gait, and force analysis...

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...

Body language is important for communication between individuals. Body language is based on the fact that the thought of performing a known action, alone, will activate the motor neurons used for the action, resulting in...

The impact of behavioural disorders on animal welfare in modern animal husbandry has been much debated. While other abnormal behaviours have been explored at length, there are a paucity of studies on tail-biting in rabbits...

Emotions are important for social animals because animals' emotions function as beneficial cues to identify valuable resources such as food or to avoid danger by providing environmental information. Emotions also enable animals to predict individuals'...

Equine assisted interventions (EAIs) include all therapeutic interventions aimed at improving human wellbeing through the involvement of horses. Due to the prominent emotional involvement traditionally characterizing their relation with humans, horses developed sophisticated communicative skills...

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...

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...

An understanding of the factors influencing the human-animal relationship is relevant in the development of welfare interventions for working equids. However, the link between the psychological attributes of animal owners, such as empathy level and...

Human-animal bond is receiving increasing attention and is thought to confer benefits on well-being and performance in working animals. One important benefit of bonding is the “safe base” an attachment figure provides, which manifests in...

Domestication has shaped the physiology and the behaviour of animals to better adapt to human environments. Therefore, human facial expressions may be highly informative for animals domesticated for working closely with people, such as dogs...

Animal habituation is key to obtain reliable data on behavioural studies but detailed procedures to achieve it are scarce. This study designed a set of actions to habituate sheep and goats to human observers. Pelibuey...

Completely updated and revised, and with a new author team, this second edition of Farm Animal Behaviour continues to provide essential information on normal and stereotypic behaviors in a wide variety of farm animals to...

Husbandry procedures are necessary for different purposes in horse breeding. The aim of the present study was to assess the aversiveness and effects on the horse-human relationship of a range of common husbandry procedures, in...

During mildly aversive healthcare procedures, horses often exhibit behaviors that may interrupt or prolong the procedure. Handler response often includes increased restraint and/or positive punishment, which can be ineffective or counterproductive. The purpose of this...

This paper describes a method in which horses learn to communicate by touching different neutral visual symbols, in order to tell the handler whether they want to have a blanket on or not. Horses were...

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