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. 
To assess the welfare of captive animals, validated measures, so-called ‘welfare indicators’, are required. We used a triangulation approach to investigate the extent to which different measures converged to provide corroborating evidence of welfare. Laying...
Modern herpetoculture has seen a rise in welfare-related habitat modifications, although ethologically-informed enclosure design and evidence-based husbandry are lacking. The diversity that exists within snakes complicates standardizing snake welfare assessment tools and evaluation techniques. Utilizing...
There is increasing recognition that farm animal welfare standards should ensure positive welfare, as well as prevent negative welfare. Resources that are valued by an animal and that provide opportunities to engage in motivated behaviours...
For animals undergoing rehabilitation it is vital to monitor welfare in a way that is feasible, practical, and limits stress to the animal. The industry gold standard is to assess welfare under the Five Domains...
Feather pecking remains a serious problem in poultry farming. This study aimed to identify risk factors for plumage damage as a proxy for feather pecking, and the predictive value of practical animal-based parameters. Data were...
The stall-housing system is commonly used in the modern swine industry in many countries; however, long-term space restrictions can cause affective and physiological abnormalities in sows. The pupil light reflex (PLR) can reflect the psychological...
Proper methods of assessment to objectively identify pain are essential for welfare improvements of piglets undergoing surgical castration on commercial farms. The Piglet Grimace Scale (PGS) is used to identify changes in facial expressions caused...
The occurrence of tail biting is one of the most important animal welfare problems in pig farming and needs to be recognised early to reduce injuries and suffering. The posture of the tail could be...
The intense nature of pig production has increased the animals’ exposure to stressful conditions, which may be detrimental to their welfare and productivity. Some of the most common sources of stress in pigs are extreme...
Group level measures of welfare flocks have been criticized on the grounds that they give only average measures and overlook the welfare of individual animals. However, we here show that the group-level optical flow patterns...
Confinement to farrowing crates is known to prevent sows from performing natural behavior, impairing animal welfare and possibly causing chronic stress. Hair cortisol analyses are increasingly used to detect chronic stress in animals. In the...
Animal welfare is one of the most challenging issues in modern farm animal husbandry. Animal welfare indicators can be used to monitor welfare on farms or at slaughterhouses, with footpad dermatitis (FPD) being one of...
This study aimed to determine the prevalence of keel bone deviations and feather damage of laying hens in two different free-range housing systems under commercial conditions. Both of the free-range systems had an indoor barn...
Gait defects, assessed as gait score (GS), is a common welfare problem in broiler chicken production. The aim of this study was to examine whether birds with GS2 experience pain and poor locomotor ability compared...
Monitoring the vocalizations produced by livestock in commercial facilities can be used to remotely assess the arousal, and perhaps welfare, of the animals. Domestic swine is an ideal candidate for this type of assessment as...
This 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...
The article describes the care of the Olive python (Liasis olivaceus) including information on housing, feeding, handling, as well as the general health care of these animals. Some of the information presented is derived from...
The Animal Welfare Assessment Grid (AWAG) is a method for assessing quality of life, originally designed for experimental primates. This study adapts the AWAG for use in cattle and pigs, by adapting the factors included...
Posture changes in pigs during growth are often precursors of disease. Monitoring pigs’ behavioral activities can allow us to detect pathological changes in pigs earlier and identify the factors threatening the health of pigs in...
Measuring animal activity is useful for monitoring animal welfare in real time. In this regard, passive infrared detectors have been used in recent years to quantify piglet activity because of their robustness and ease of...
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...
There is an increasing focus on evidence-based welfare assessment by animal care staff in zoos, along with a strong interest in animal welfare by the zoo-visiting public, to the extent that this can influence their...
Several precision livestock farming (PLF) technologies, conceived for optimizing farming processes, are developed to detect the physical and behavioral changes of animals continuously and in real-time. The aim of this review was to explore the...
Fractures and deviations to the keel bone are common in commercial laying hens, with reported variations in occurrence across strains and breeds. The aetiology is not fully understood, however, modern genetics and selection for efficient...

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