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 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...

Horse confinement is a common practice worldwide. However, preventing horses from grazing and denying them social interaction can compromise their welfare and lead to undesirable consequences. Considering the hypothesis that increasing the forage consumption time...

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...

Group-living animals vary in social behavior across multiple dimensions, including in the selectivity of social interactions with familiar versus unfamiliar peers. Standardized behavioral tests can be used to tease apart different dimensions of behavior. These...

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...

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...

This study analyzed the rectal and surface temperature of the horse's body, its heart rate variability parameters, and the step length when walking and trotting geriatric horses using blankets with various thermoinsulating properties. Twenty-four hot-blooded...

Exotic rodents are becoming increasingly popular in industry; however, there is limited empirical evidence to guide husbandry practices. African pygmy dormice (Graphiurus murinus) are typical in this respect. This research aimed to determine the effect...

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...

Hematology is a common tool for wildlife health assessments. Manual leukocyte counts are required in reptiles, however, disagreement between quantification methods has been observed in some chelonians. This study determined agreement between two methods of...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

The naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a rodent that has gained importance as a biomedical research model for various conditions including hypoxic brain injury, cancer and nociception. It is captured from the wild and...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Rabbits are popular companion animals. There are numerous welfare issues affecting the majority of the population, including the fact that most rabbits are fearful when handled. Pet Remedy ™ (Unex Designs) is an herbal product...

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