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. 
Sows in an extensive setting maintain small, stable matrilineal social groups comprised of familiar, and often genetically related, conspecifics. Providing conditions in an intensive farm setting which allow similar social groups could reduce aggression by...
Improving welfare is still a critical issue in pig husbandry. Upgrades of the housing environment seem to be a promising solution to optimise resilience as a whole, and therefore improve animal welfare. The objective of...
Anxiety is a physio-psychological state anticipating an imminent threat. In social mammals it is behaviorally expressed via displacement activities and buffered via affiliation. Anxiety research on domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) has mostly focused on abnormal/stereotypic...
The importance of social stability and its influence on the expression of the social behaviour repertoire in domestic animals remains poorly understood, especially for affiliative behaviours and other putative socio-positive behaviours such as social play...
The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is working with industry to promote social housing during cardiovascular telemetry recordings within non-rodent safety pharmacology and toxicology studies. Following surveys...
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...
Being in a confined environment causes chronic stress in gestating sows, which is detrimental for sow health, welfare and, consequently, offspring physiology. This study assessed the health and welfare of gestating sows housed in a...
Weaning and mixing cause substantial social stress among piglets and frequently lead to stress, injury, inflammation, immunosuppression and growth retardation. This study aimed to investigate the effects of different early social environments on social behavior...
In a 2018 AALAS webinar on Sheep and Goat Analgesia, Dr. Susie Vogel, a small ruminant expert, introduced the concept of getting sheep and goats to willingly take medication by putting it in a tasty...
Animal welfare scientists have accumulated knowledge and developed interventions to improve livestock welfare, but these are poorly adopted in commercial practice. Animal welfare interventions are rarely tested for economic viability and this limits their uptake...
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...
Our initial attempt was to individually place pigs in cages according to the serial numbers assigned by the vendor and remove cage inserts to combine those that happened to be next to each other. Unfortunately...
Background: Pre-weaning group housing for sows and their litters is expected to enhance animal welfare. However, knowledge of potential benefits of pre-weaning socialisation for piglets after weaning is still lacking. Methods: Weaner pigs were mixed...
When primates groom each other, they tend to concentrate on those parts of the body they cannot efficiently self-groom (i.e., not visually accessible), and prefer to intensify grooming in areas with high hair density, thus...
Sheep lameness is a major concern among farmers and policymakers with significant impacts on animal welfare standards as well as financial and production performance. The present study attempts to identify the relative importance of environmental...
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...
Weaning and other regrouping events as routine work in commercial farms cause stress to pigs and compromise their welfare. Several studies found positive outcomes to mitigate weaning stress when piglets were socialized (i.e. co-mingled) or...
Previously, the benefits of early-life socialisation on later-life social development have been reported in pigs. Here we investigated the effect of pre-weaning socialisation on the later-life cognitive ability of pigs using a range of techniques...
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...
Intraspecific coalitional aggression is rare among all species, especially within stable social groups. We report here numerous cases of intraspecific lethal gang aggression within stable groups of domestic pigs. The objective was to describe this...
Stereotypies are frequently associated with sub-optimal captive environments and are used as welfare indicators. However, susceptibility to stereotypy can vary across individuals of the same group. As such, identifying which individuals are more susceptible to...
Hierarchy formation in domestic sows results in aggression and stress, which might be ameliorated through nutritional satiety. The effect on aggression in group housed, gestating sows provided a standard or high volume of a “standard”...
When sows are mixed into groups, hierarchies form and resulting aggression and stress can affect production and welfare. This study determined the effect of providing point-source materials on aggressive and play behaviors in gestating sows...

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