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. 

In conclusion, the investigations carried out up to now demonstrate that during the early stages fish show high sensitivity to many types of stressors involving an array of responses to overcome alterations that could affect...

Access to pasture is a main benefit of free-range broiler housing systems, yet the level of outdoor stocking density on broiler animal welfare remains unsettled. The growth, feather damage, pasture ranging and behaviors were assessed...

Barren housing and high stocking densities may contribute to negative affective states in broiler chickens, reducing their welfare. We investigated the effects of environmental complexity and stocking density on broilers’ attention bias (measure of anxiety)...

Resting behaviours make up a large part of the daily time budget of broilers. However, in intensive broiler production systems disruptions of resting behaviours occur, where resting individuals get disturbed by active individuals. Such interruptions...

The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a solitary and naturally territorial animal, with female hamsters being more aggressive than males. This behavior makes handling difficult because they are usually housed in groups, which can lead...

Fish are widely used in scientific research, and many species are bred for ornamental purposes and human consumption. Despite the large number of fish kept in captivity, research on the welfare of these animals has...

This article describes the successful rehoming of 60 Malawi cichlids from a vivarium at Stanford University to San Diego Zoo and the California Academy of Sciences.

Fish models are essential for research in many biological and medical disciplines. With a typical lifespan of only 6 months, the turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) was recently established as a time- and cost-efficient model to...

Studies on the etiology of behavioral problems often involve interference in the animal's routine or reliance on owners' self-reports like surveys. Gathering data from videos posted on social media, a technique coined ‘video mining’, offers...

Dominance hierarchies can reduce conflict within social groups and agonistic signals can help to establish and maintain these hierarchies. Behaviours produced by subordinates in response to aggression are often assumed to function as signals of...

Our social relationships determine our health and well-being. In rodent models, there is now strong support for the rewarding properties of aggressive or assertive behaviors to be critical for the expression and development of adaptive...

Leg problems are highly prevalent in modern broiler production and provision of environmental enrichment could be a strategy to improve leg health. Different types of environmental enrichment have undergone evaluation. Our objective was to conduct...

Available literature indicates that fish are able to recognize familiar conspecifics and that familiarity may offer important benefits (e.g. more stable social environment, improved foraging behavior, growth, survival). In the practice of intensive rearing of...

This open access book is a printed edition of the Special Issue on Welfare of Cultured and Experimental Fishes that was published in the journal Fishes. The PDF is free for download.

The effects of social hierarchies (dominant/subordinate individuals), such as aggressiveness, feeding order, and territoriality, are some of the characteristics used for describing fish behaviour. Social hierarchy patterns are still poorly understood in European-reared sea bass...

Aggression in chickens is a serious economic and animal welfare issue in poultry farming. Pigmentation traits have been documented to be associated with animal behaviour. Chicken pecking behaviour has been found to be related to...

Feather pecking (FP) is a multifactorial problem in all housing systems. Using a case-control design we wanted to determine a set of variables which may be decisive for a flock to become case or control...

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...

The laying hen industry is implementing aviary systems intended to improve welfare by providing hens with more space and resources to perform species-specific behaviors. To date, limited research has examined spatial requirements of various strains...

Changes in aquatic environments can affect fish behavior. Water renewal, for example, can dilute chemical signals, which are a social communication tool used by some fish species, and this dilution increases aggressive interactions in the...

The housing conditions and environments experienced during the rearing period can influence the development of feather pecking in chickens during this time and in the subsequent laying period. The aim of this study was to...

Although Syrian hamsters are thought to be naturally solitary, recent evidence from our laboratory demonstrates that hamsters may actually prefer social contact. Hamsters increase their preference for a location associated with an agonistic encounter regardless...

Social species in captivity may face allostatic overload due to artificial grouping and other social constraints. In rescue centres, groups of psittacines are constantly mixed due to the arrival and/or release of individuals; this procedure...

Litter material and stocking density were evaluated on welfare-related variables and productive performance in broilers. Male chicks (n = 744, “Ross 308” strain) were raised on either tezontle (TEZ) or wood shavings (WS) litter, with...

The psychological and physiological effects of different genres of music are well documented in humans. These concepts have also been studied in kenneled dogs and some exotic animals, implying that animals may experience benefits similar...

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