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. 

Injurious pecking, commonly controlled by beak trimming (BT), is a widespread issue in laying hens associated with thwarted foraging. This controlled study compared the effect in intact and beak-trimmed pullets of providing pecking pans to...

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...

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...

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...

While recent work has assessed how environmental and managerial changes influence elephant welfare across multiple zoos, few studies have addressed the effects of management changes within a single institution. In this paper, we examine how...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Feather pecking and cannibalism are behavioral disorders that cause animal-welfare-relevant and economic problems. To mitigate these problems, the beaks of conventionally reared turkeys are usually already trimmed in the hatcheries. To find an alternative to...

Piglet castration results in acute pain and stress to the animal. There is a critical need for effective on-farm methods of pain mitigation. Local anaesthesia using Tri-Solfen® (Animal Ethics Pty Ltd., Melbourne, Australia), a topical...

The introduction of elephants into new groups is necessary for breeding programmes. However, behavioural studies on the reactions of these animals at first encounters are missing. In the present study, female African elephants (Loxodonta africana)...

Severe feather pecking (SFP) is a major animal welfare problem in layers. It results in pain and injuries in the affected animal. It was the aim of this study to gain insight into the actual...

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...

Beak trimming in laying hens limits the negative consequences of injurious pecking, but could be prohibited by future regulations. This study assessed a combination of management strategies during the rearing period (objects, perches, music, human...

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)...

The welfare status of elephants under human care has been a contentious issue for two decades or more in numerous western countries. Much effort has gone into assessing the welfare of captive elephants at individual...

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...

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