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. 

Since January 2019, surgical castration of male piglets must be performed using local anaesthesia, if farmers deliver pigs to the primary exporting slaughterhouses according to the “Danish quality scheme”; a voluntary initiative taken by the...

Pain causes behavioral, autonomic, and neuroendocrine changes and is a common cause of animal welfare compromise in farm animals. Current societal and ethical concerns demand better agricultural practices and improved welfare for food animals. These...

Immunocastration is a sustainable alternative to piglet castration but faces limited market acceptance. The phenomenon of non-responders has not to date been examined in detail, but adverse and stressful housing conditions (e.g., mixing of groups)...

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 purpose of this study was to evaluate whether linear and non-linear measures of heart rate variability (HRV) could be used as indicators of piglet castration pain. Thirty piglets were allocated to 1 of 4...

Surgical castration is a painful procedure that is routinely performed without pain relief on commercial pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) farms. Previous research has focused on quantifying piglet pain response through behaviours. However, to date, behavioural...

Deflighting zoo birds is a practice that receives increasing criticism due to its presumed incompatibility with animal welfare. To our knowledge, this is the first approach to address this problem in a scientific way. To...

Surgical castration of male piglets without analgesia is a painful procedure. This prospective, randomized and double-blinded study aimed to evaluate the analgesic effects of four different local anesthetics for piglet castration during the first week...

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...

This experiment compared the stress responses of piglets to tail docking. Two hundred and eighty-eight piglets were allocated to the following treatments at 2 d post-farrowing: (1) sham handling treatment; (2) surgical castration; (3) tail...

This experiment compared the stress responses of piglets to tail docking. Two hundred and eighty-eight piglets were allocated to the following treatments at 2 d post-farrowing: (1) sham handling treatment; (2) surgical castration; (3) tail...

Analgesic products for piglet castration are critically needed. This requires extensive animal experimentation such as to meet regulatory-required proof of efficacy. At present, there are no validated methods of assessing pain in neonatal piglets. This...

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...

This study examined electroencephalographic (EEG) indices of acute nociception in pigs (Sus scrofa) aged 1, 5, 7, 10, 12 and 15 days, post-natal. Ten pigs per age were anaesthetised with halothane in oxygen and maintained...

Surgical castration of piglets is a routine procedure on commercial pig farms, to prevent boar taint and reduce aggression. This procedure is known to cause pain, yet piglets are often not provided appropriate analgesia for...

Piglets on commercial pig farms are often tail-docked to reduce the incidence of tail-biting. While this is a painful procedure, piglets are often not provided analgesia or anaesthesia for pain relief. The objectives of this...

Tail biting in pigs is an injurious behaviour that spreads rapidly in a group. We investigated three different treatments to stop ongoing tail biting outbreaks in 65 pens of 6–30 kg undocked pigs (30 pigs...

Tail biting in pigs is an animal welfare problem, and tail biting should be prevented from developing into tail damage. One strategy could be to predict events of tail biting so that the farmer can...

Solutions are needed to keep pigs under commercial conditions without tail biting outbreaks (TBOs). However, as TBOs are inevitable, even in well managed farms, it is crucial to know how to manage TBOs when they...

Tail biting is a common issue within commercial pig production. It is mainly an indicator of inadequate housing environment and results in reduced health welfare and production. To reduce the impact of tail biting, pigs...

Tail biting remains a common problem in pig production. As producers are reluctant to use straw to reduce this behaviour, we review studies on the effectiveness of other types of enrichment. Roughage, hessian sacks, compost...

The aim of the present study was to classify and characterise pigs with tail lesions using a combined parameter based on the frequency and duration of tail lesions and to find out whether biologically relevant...

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...

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