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. 

On farms, the currently approved and most widely practised method of euthanising non-viable piglets is blunt force trauma to the head followed by exsanguination. However, the use of this method is criticised due to public...

Electrical stunning is likely to remain an important stunning method for turkeys at slaughter. The purpose of this study is to understand the application of various waveforms of alternating current (AC) and pulsed direct currents...

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...

We investigated how providing chewable materials to piglets during the early weeks of life affect sow behaviour, sow and piglet interaction and sow health in pens with farrowing crates. We divided 59 pregnant sows into...

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...

The aim of this study was to investigate whether the well-known positive effects of immunocastration on the behavior and welfare of pigs persist under varying environments. One hundred forty-four male pigs were studied with regard...

Piglet mortality, especially due to crushing, is a concern in pig production. While current systems use farrowing crates to reduce mortality, they present major animal welfare problems for the sow. This study investigated the effects...

The pygmy hog (Porcula salvania), until recently was classified as a critically endangered suid facing the threat of extinction due to habitat degradation. Efforts are being made to protect the pygmy hog from extinction and...

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...

In this study, an appropriate visual scoring system for foot-pad dermatitis was validated, considering the histologically measured depth of the inflammation zone and the histopathological grade (no lesion, mild lesion, ulcer). The aim being to...

Reduced mobility in broilers can contribute to leg health problems. Environmental enrichment has been suggested as one approach to combat this through stimulating increased physical activity. Past studies have tested the effect of environmental enrichments...

Factors contributing to the development of keel bone damage are not well understood. This study aimed to identify behaviors and cage structures associated with acceleration events experienced by individual hens at their keels as the...

Optimising nest design for broiler breeders has benefits for both the animals and the producers. The welfare of the hens will increase by providing preferred housing, while also reducing eggs laid outside the nests. These...

Broiler breeders are feed-restricted during rearing to avoid the negative consequences of obesity during lay due to their genetic potential for fast growth rate. Feed restriction leads to chronic hunger, frustration and lack of satiety...

The effect of CO2 gas-stunning methods (G1: 30% CO2 15 sec, 55% CO2 40 sec, 70% CO2 45 sec; G2: 30% CO2 15 sec, 80% CO2 85 sec) on the efficacy of stunning, blood stress...

Keel bone fractures in laying hens have been described with increasing prevalence from several countries over the last twenty years and are considered one of the greatest welfare problems to the layer industry. In Denmark...

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...

One way to reduce the negative impact of farrowing crates on sow welfare is to limit confinement of sows from the onset of farrowing until the end of the critical period of piglets’ life a...

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)...

This study investigated the effects of two factors, enriched environment (EE) and different crossbreeds, on the maternal behavior and physiology of Min-pig hybrid sows. The analysis was performed on a total of 72 multiparous sows...

We investigated the effect of different farrowing systems on the behavior of sows and piglets. In total, 22 hybrid sows (Yorkshire × Landrace) were randomly assigned into three farrowing systems, farrowing crate (FC), free farrowing...

Most farrowing facilities in the United States use stalls and heat lamps to improve sow and piglet productivity. This study investigated these factors by comparing production outcomes for three different farrowing stall layouts (traditional, expanded...

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 swine industry is often forced to euthanize pigs in the first few weeks of life due to injuries, hernias, or unthriftiness. The majority of pigs are euthanized using carbon dioxide (CO2) gas asphyxiation but...

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