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. 

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...

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...

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...

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 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...

Affective state can bias an animal’s judgement. Animals in positive affective states can interpret ambiguous cues more positively (“optimistically”) than animals in negative affective states. Thus, judgement bias tests can determine an animal’s affective state...

Reactions to dying and dead conspecifics have been observed in many non-human animals. Elephants, particularly African elephants, are thought to have an awareness of the death of their conspecifics, as they show compassionate behaviour towards...

In commercial flocks of laying hens, keel bone fractures (KBFs) are prevalent and associated with behavioural indicators of pain. However, whether their impact is severe enough to induce a depressive-like state of chronic stress is...

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...

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)...

Traditional animal welfare paradigms have focused on maintaining physical health and mitigating negative impacts to wellbeing. Recently, however, the field has increasingly recognized the importance of positive welfare (i.e., mental and physical states that exceed...

The inclusion of emotional indicators in farm monitoring methods can improve welfare assessments. Studies in controlled conditions have suggested that increased tail movement is an indicator of positive emotions in pigs, while others have proposed...

The neurobiological response to gentle touch remains poorly understood, especially in the context of human-animal interaction. A novel approach allowed recording the pig electroencephalogram (EEG) cranially epidurally and wirelessly during positive interactions with a human...

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...

Responses to ambiguous and aversive stimuli (e.g. via tests of judgment bias and measures of startle amplitude) can indicate mammals’ affective states. We hypothesised that such findings generalize to birds, and that these two responses...

In recent years, there has been a great increase in the interest of "emotion" and how it can be studied and translated from animals. Emotions arise when the brain receives an external stimulus, while the...

When measuring animals’ valenced behavioural responses to stimuli, the Conditioned Place Preference (CPP) test goes a step further than many approach-based and avoidance-based tests by establishing whether a learned preference for, or aversion to, the...

The assessment and provision of welfare in farm animals has become a major issue in animal science. A key element for providing good welfare is the enabling of positive affective states in the animals. As...

The presence of a conspecific can ameliorate an individual's stress response. This social buffering is known to be widespread in social mammals but the capacity of birds to act as social buffers has not yet...

Fish are one of the most highly utilised vertebrate taxa by humans; they are harvested from wild stocks as part of global fishing industries, grown under intensive aquaculture conditions, are the most common pet and...

The detection and assessment of pain in animals is crucial to improving their welfare in a variety of contexts in which humans are ethically or legally bound to do so. Thus clear standards to judge...

The study of emotions in animals is of increasing importance to a number of disciplines such as animal welfare science and affective neuroscience. Pigs are a common farm animal species, most often reared in intensive...

For the welfare of group-housed animals, such as pigs, the emotional state of an individual pig is relevant, but also the extent to which pen mates are affected by the distress or pleasure of other...

Fish have the same stress response and powers of nociception as mammals. Their behavioural responses to a variety of situations suggest a considerable ability for higher level neural processing – a level of consciousness equivalent...

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