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 evolution of the horse, an extended period of feed intake, spread over the entire 24-h period, determined the horses’ behaviour and physiology. Horses will not interrupt their feed intake for more than 4...

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...

Dental disorders can cause discomfort and chronic pain, affecting the athletic performance and welfare of the horses. However, dental disorders may not be manifested with recognizable clinical signs and may, therefore, lead to late diagnosis...

Infra-red thermography (IRT) is a non-invasive tool for measuring eye temperature as an indicator of stress and welfare in animals. Previous studies state that images are taken from 90° but do not specify a reference...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Cognitive enrichment aims to provide animals with opportunities to use their cognitive skills and to promote behaviors associated with positive wellbeing. Cooperation in mammals has been recorded during various behavioral contexts such as hunting, mating...

Gastrointestinal stasis is a common perianaesthetic complication in rabbits. The objective of this study was to assess the impact on gastrointestinal transit time of ketamine–midazolam (KMZ) versus ketamine–medetomidine (later antagonised by atipamezole) (KMT-A) in rabbits...

Animal welfare is defined as a chronic state reflecting an individual’s subjective perception of its situation. Because it is possible to be in a good welfare state and nevertheless experience acute fear or pain, and...

Exposure to environmental factors such as high temperatures and solar radiation levels present a welfare concern for many domestic equids. Understanding how these factors influence the shelter use of healthy equids can inform welfare guidelines...

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...

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...

Captive welfare studies in odontocete species have been mostly conducted on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) while the welfare of many other species’ -including endangered species- remains poorly studied. More research is needed to find and...

The aim of this study was to verify the motivation of rabbit does to social contact or seclusion. The results of two different research activities assessed in Italy (experiment 1) and Germany (experiment 2) through...

Horses have evolved to show little indication of discomfort or disability when in the presence of potential predators, including humans. This natural characteristic complicates the recognition of pain in equine patients. It has been our...

Although group housing of naturally social animals like rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is desirable for ethical reasons, social conflicts can significantly increase the risk for injuries as well as stress incidences and negatively affect their welfare...

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...

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