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. 

On farms, the currently approved and most widely practised method of euthanising non-viable piglets is blunt force trauma to the head followed by exsanguination. However, the use of this method is criticised due to public...

Sea stars in research are often lethally sampled without available methodology to render them insensible prior to sampling due to concerns over sufficient sample quality for applied molecular techniques. The objectives of this study were...

The objective of this study was to describe the effect of penetrating or non-penetrating captive bolt using an occipital approach in 4–5 month old, Holstein steers weighing between 100–200 kg. Twelve calves were divided into...

Euthanasia is a valuable management tool utilized on dairies to end the suffering of sick or debilitated cows. Euthanasia should be implemented if an animal’s pain cannot be adequately alleviated and if there is a...

The effect on motor paralysis of a deviation in the stun shot placement from the ideal point on cattle skulls was monitored in 627 bovine animals (271 bulls and 356 cows) stunned with a captive...

Personality is often defined as the behaviour of individual animals that is consistent across contexts and over time. Personality traits may become unstable during stages of ontogeny from infancy to adulthood, especially during major periods...

The swine industry is often forced to euthanize pigs in the first few weeks of life due to injuries, hernias, or unthriftiness. The majority of pigs are euthanized using carbon dioxide (CO2) gas asphyxiation but...

The optimal choice of euthanasia method for laboratory rodents depends on a number of factors, including the scientific goals of the study, the need to minimize animal pain and/or distress, applicable guidelines and laws, the...

Consciousness is central to animal welfare concerns. Its assessment is most often conducted based on behavior, with a poor understanding of the correspondence between behavior and the neurobiological processes that underlie the subjective experience of...

Swine mass depopulation refers to the destruction of large numbers of pigs and may include not only animals affected with a disease but also healthy pigs in a facility or surrounding areas. Emerging applications of...

Guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) have been used in research since the 19th century to collect data due to their physiological similarities to humans. Today, animals perform a vital role in experiments and concerns for laboratory...

This study assessed aversion, stunning effectiveness, and product quality of nitrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2) mixtures used for stunning pigs. A total of 1852 slaughter pigs divided into two similar batches was assessed during routine...

Nitrogen gas (N2) delivered in high expansion foam in a closed container could be a feasible method for humanely stunning pigs. This study aimed to evaluate potential aversion in pigs to the N2 foam method...

Low atmospheric pressure stunning (LAPS) is a slaughter technique which may be less stressful for pigs (Sus scrofa domestica) than current commercial stunning and slaughter methods. The main methods used currently for slaughtering pigs are...

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is commonly used to kill rodents. However, a large body of research has now established that CO2 is aversive to them. A multidisciplinary symposium organized by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and...

The use of carbon dioxide (CO2) for stunning and killing animals is considered to compromise welfare due to air hunger, anxiety, fear, and pain. Despite decades of research, no alternatives have so far been found...

Personality is defined as individual behavioral differences that are consistent over time and across contexts and is constructed from a number of underlying traits. Over the last 27 years, studies on pig personality have investigated...

Societal concerns about animal welfare have triggered the movement of gestating sows from individual stalls to group housing in many countries. Common methods of assessing sow welfare focus on overt physical ailments, and potentially neglect...

Cattle mother-offspring contact calls encode individual-identity information; however, it is unknown whether cattle are able to maintain individuality when vocalising to familiar conspecifics over other positively and negatively valenced farming contexts. Accordingly, we recorded 333...

Personality, defined as consistent between-individual variation in clusters of behavioral traits independent of factors such as age or sex, emerges in most animal species tested so far. The number of invertebrate species discovered to have...

Small laboratory animals are commonly euthanased via intraperitoneal (IP) injection of sodium pentobarbital. However, there is concern that animals may experience pain prior to loss of consciousness with this delivery route. The present study investigated...

Humane euthanasia of cattle under field conditions presents special challenges for veterinarians and producers. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the CASH Dispatch Kit captive-bolt system combined with improved shot...

The most common method for the on-farm euthanasia of neonate piglets is reported to be manual blunt force trauma. This paper presents the results of research to evaluate a mechanical non-penetrating captive bolt (the Accles...

Current methods of euthanizing piglets are raising animal welfare concerns. Our experiment used a novel two-step euthanasia method, using nitrous oxide (N2O) for six minutes and then carbon dioxide (CO2) on compromised 0- to 7-day-old...

Acceptable methods for the euthanasia of cattle include overdose of an anesthetic, gunshot and captive bolt. The use of anesthetics for euthanasia is costly and complicates carcass disposal. These issues can be avoided by use...

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