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. 

Heart rate (HR) is a vital bio-signal that is relatively easy to monitor with contact sensors and is related to a living organism’s state of health, stress and well-being. The objective of this study was...

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...

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...

Monitoring the temperature of piglets after birth is critical to ensure their well-being. Rectal temperature measurement is time-consuming, requires fixation of the animal and is stressful for piglets. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness...

Respiratory diseases are a major problem in the pig industry worldwide. Due to the impact of these diseases, the early identification of infected herds is essential. Computer vision technology, using RGB (red, green and blue)...

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...

Horses kept for meat production are reared in intensive breeding farms. We employed a checklist adapted from the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) assessment protocol. Our evaluation aims to assess whether welfare indicators are influenced by...

Measuring vital signs is central to medical practice, but they are difficult to monitor in awake laboratory animals. We examined the feasibility of a noninvasive device [Cortrium C3 device] for telemetric assessment of respiration rate...

In the equestrian world, two different types of management can be distinguished: traditional management and natural boarding. The aim of this research was to compare hormonal, hematological and immunological parameters of 47 horses kept in...

Intensive pig management involves in a commercial setting the housing and implementation of certain procedures, such as castration and tail docking, which may be stressful for the animal. Good farming practices include the reduction of...

Litter sizes where piglets are supernumerary to teats leads to the practice of fostering to nurse sows or to artificial rearing systems, which is associated with compromised welfare. An alternative strategy is to leave the...

Horses reared for meat production can be kept in intensive breeding farms where they are housed in group pens at high stocking densities. The present study aimed to evaluate whether the expressed behaviours correlated with...

According to the European Union Council Directive 2008/120EC, measures to minimise the risk for tail biting shall be taken before practicing tail docking, e.g. provision of manipulable material. Still, >90% of the pigs within EU...

It was the aim of the study to investigate the effect of a prolonged suckling period and group housing before weaning on tail biting in undocked nursery pigs. To do this, experiments with three treatment...

Tail biting in pigs is an injurious behaviour that spreads rapidly in a group. We investigated three different treatments to stop ongoing tail biting outbreaks in 65 pens of 6–30 kg undocked pigs (30 pigs...

Tail biting in pigs is an animal welfare problem, and tail biting should be prevented from developing into tail damage. One strategy could be to predict events of tail biting so that the farmer can...

Solutions are needed to keep pigs under commercial conditions without tail biting outbreaks (TBOs). However, as TBOs are inevitable, even in well managed farms, it is crucial to know how to manage TBOs when they...

Tail biting is a common issue within commercial pig production. It is mainly an indicator of inadequate housing environment and results in reduced health welfare and production. To reduce the impact of tail biting, pigs...

Tail biting remains a common problem in pig production. As producers are reluctant to use straw to reduce this behaviour, we review studies on the effectiveness of other types of enrichment. Roughage, hessian sacks, compost...

The aim of the present study was to classify and characterise pigs with tail lesions using a combined parameter based on the frequency and duration of tail lesions and to find out whether biologically relevant...

Acute stress induces an array of behavioural reactions in horses that vary between individuals. Attempts to relate behavioural patterns and physiological responses have not always given clear-cut results. Here, we measured the changes in a...

In intensive pig farming of Western and Southern Europe, welfare concerns are still often related to barren environments and crowded conditions. Pig producers need to balance the requirements to improve welfare conditions at farm with...

Infrared thermography (IRT) or thermal imaging is increasingly being used as a non-invasive method to gain information on animals' physiological and emotional state. IRT has the potential to serve as a non-invasive quantitative assessment method...

Collection of blood from pregnant mares for extraction of equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) is a critical but relatively unknown and poorly regulated practice in the countries in which it occurs. Equine chorionic gonadotropin is a...

A case control study with a questionnaire was carried out to compare feeding practices, diet composition, housing and management in 78 herds with or without a history of tail-biting in undocked pigs (Sus scrofa) in...

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