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. 
There is a lack of clarity on whether pigs can emotionally respond to musical stimulation and whether that response is related to music structure. Qualitative Behavioral Assessment (QBA) was used to evaluate effects of 16...
Long-term, multi-institutional assessments have become a reliable tool for evaluating patterns of wounding in zoo-living primates, with results informing on best practices for species-specific care protocols and population management strategies. For western lowland gorillas (Gorilla...
The concept of the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement) has been used as a framework for improving the welfare of laboratory animals for the last half century. By establishing an animal-centric view on housing and...
Animal models of human diseases are important in biomedical research. When using animals for scientific purposes, the 3Rs (replace, reduce, refine) should be considered. Refinement of animal models is essential to ensure best use of...
Whether animals have emotions was historically a long-lasting question but, today, nobody disputes that they do. However, how to assess them and how to guarantee animals their welfare have become important research topics in the...
Locomotion scoring is crucial for the early detection of lameness, which reduces sow welfare and performance. Our objective was to test the effectiveness of a visual analogue scale (VAS) to measure locomotory ability (OVERALL) compared...
Pig welfare is affected by housing conditions, the minimum requirements of which are set up by EU legislation. Animal and non-animal-based measures are useful indicators to investigate housing risk factors for pig welfare. An observational...
During the development of potential new medicines or agrochemicals, an assessment of the safety profile to humans and environmental species is conducted using a range of different in silico and in vitro techniques in conjunction...
Describing certain animal behaviours as 'depression-like' or 'depressive' has become common across several fields of research. These typically involve unusually low activity or unresponsiveness and/or reduced interest in pleasure (anhedonia). While the term 'depression-like' carefully...
Seeking to match our emotional state with one of those around us is known as emotional contagion-a fundamental biological process that underlies social behavior across several species and taxa. While emotional contagion has been traditionally...
Livestock animals are sentient beings with cognitive and emotional capacities and their brain development, similar to humans and other animal species, is affected by their surrounding environmental conditions. Current intensive production systems, through the restrictions...
The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of reduced stocking density in combination with provision of additional enrichment material on pig welfare on-farm. On three growing-finishing farms in Austria, in total 974...
The present study examined whether tail and ear postures in fattening pigs (n = 228) housed in different environments could be suitable for assessing their affective state. In doing so, it investigated the appearance of...
Animals are likely to appraise events as positive or negative based on their subjective perception, current state and past experiences. We tested the effects of anticipating positive (food anticipation), negative (inaccessible food) and neutral (clicker...
The aim of this work is to investigate the effect of a temperature increase on the behaviour of adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) maintained for 21 days at 34 °C (treatment) and 26 °C (control). The temperatures chosen...
Animals show various behavioural, neural and physiological changes in response to losing aggressive encounters. Here, we investigated affective state, which are emotion-like processes influenced by positive or negative experiences, in a territorial fish following aggressive...
Environmental enrichment in pig housing is a legal requirement under current EU legislation, but some recommended loose materials may cause obstructions in fully-slatted systems. Wood is an organic material that could be compatible with slatted...
The use of juvenile conventional pigs as a preclinical animal model to perform pharmacokinetic (PK), pharmacodynamic (PD) and safety studies for the paediatric population is increasing. Repetitive oral administration of drugs to juvenile pigs is...
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...
Animals’ tail posture and motion play an important role in communication, amongst others. In domestic pigs, the debate around tail docking and tail biting has made the tail an important research topic, and tail-related behaviour...
Litter sizes where piglets are supernumerary to teats leads to the practice of fostering to nurse sows or to artificial rearing systems, which is associated with compromised welfare. An alternative strategy is to leave the...
Provision of rooting material as enrichment for pigs has been primarily oriented towards reducing negative affect (suffering). Information is also needed on the impact of different types of rooting materials in promoting positive affect (pleasure)...
The aim of this study was to develop and test a tilapia on-farm welfare assessment protocol, based on Brazilian semi-intensive production systems. The study included two mains steps: the elaboration of tilapia welfare protocol and...
According to the European Union Council Directive 2008/120EC, measures to minimise the risk for tail biting shall be taken before practicing tail docking, e.g. provision of manipulable material. Still, >90% of the pigs within EU...
It was the aim of the study to investigate the effect of a prolonged suckling period and group housing before weaning on tail biting in undocked nursery pigs. To do this, experiments with three treatment...

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