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. 
Accelerometers offer unique opportunities to study the behaviour of cryptic animals but require validation to show their accuracy in identifying behaviours. This validation is often undertaken in captivity before use in the wild. While zoos...
Cautery disbudding is a painful procedure performed on goat kids to prevent horn growth that may result in brain injury. Thermal damage to the cerebral cortex of the brain and subsequent neurologic disease is a...
Vocalizations are used by group-living animals as aggressive and submissive signals during agonistic interactions, and are also used to maintain dominance hierarchies in many species. For gregarious strepsirrhines with large vocal repertoires and differentiated dominance...
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...
Many articles have shown the benefits of operant conditioning training techniques in the care and welfare of several species of nonhuman primates; however, the information regarding their use in strepsirrhine species is scarce. We assessed...
Goat kids are frequently disbudded in intensively farmed units to reduce the number of accidental injuries to other animals and farm workers due to horn growth. The most commonly used method is thermal disbudding which...
Positive reinforcement training (PRT) is a component of a comprehensive species-appropriate enrichment program to train specific species behaviors and reduce the stress on animals. Our facility has historically used PRT with nonhuman primates, so we...
Nowadays, most of the goat milk production in developed countries is done in intensive indoors production systems. In these systems, procedures such as disbudding are performed routinely. Disbudding is done in young goat kids and...
Limited scientific literature is available for developing 'best practices' guidelines for the management of dairy goats (Caprus hircus), particularly goat kids. Disbudding practices for kids and calves appear to be similar, however, it is important...
We evaluated the effect of pain mitigation strategies (isoflurane and meloxicam) on the behaviour and physiology of 3-week-old disbudded goat kids. Fifty Saanen does (mean ± SD, 21 ± 3 days old) were randomly allocated...
Cautery disbudding of goat kids causes thermal burns and tissue destruction, which results in acute and post-operative pain and negatively affects animal welfare. The objectives of this study were to evaluate acute cortisol concentrations and...
This is the 5th volume of selected discussions that took place on the electronic Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum between February 2016 and December 2019. The forum was created in October 2002; it allows...
Zoos use ambassador animals in educational programs featuring close contact with humans. Chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera) at the Saint Louis Zoo are retrieved for programs by a keeper wearing brown handling gloves, but green cleaning gloves...
In this preliminary study, we compared changes in mechanical nociceptive thresholds (MNT) of calves and goat kids injected with clove oil or isoeugenol under the horn bud as a potential, more welfare-friendly alternative to hot-iron...
Although the domestic cat (Felis catus) is probably the most widespread companion animal in the world and interacts in a complex and multifaceted way with humans, the human–cat relationship and reciprocal communication have received far...
Training nonhuman primates (NHPs) to perform cognitive tasks is essential for many neuroscientific investigations, yet laboratory training is a time-consuming process with inherent limitations. Habituating NHPs to the laboratory staff and experimental equipment can take...
Cats employ vocalizations for communicating information, thus their sounds can carry a wide range of meanings. Concerning vocalization, an aspect of increasing relevance directly connected with the welfare of such animals is its emotional interpretation...
Our objective was to identify and characterize the types of vocalization other than meowing (VOM) in two contexts, a pleasant and an aversive situation, and to study the effect of the sex of the animal...
The behavioural assessment of individual animals in stressful situations should consider measures which are consistent across repeated testing, and therefore truly representative of an individual's behaviour. Here we report a study conducted on 40 neutered...
Pets have numerous, effective methods to communicate with their human hosts. Perhaps most conspicuous of these are distress vocalizations: in cats, the ‘miaow’ and in dogs, the ‘whine’ or ‘whimper’. We compared a sample of...
Only a handful of primate taxa use ultrasonic vocalisations (those ≥20 kHz) to communicate. The extent and uses of ultrasonic communication remain poorly understood, potentially ranging from echolocation, advertisement of reproductive status and resource availability...
Alternatives to cautery disbudding (caustic paste and cryosurgical disbudding, and clove oil injection) were evaluated using behavioural measures of post-treatment pain in dairy goat kids. Fifty Saanen doe kids were randomly assigned to one of...
Animal habituation is key to obtain reliable data on behavioural studies but detailed procedures to achieve it are scarce. This study designed a set of actions to habituate sheep and goats to human observers. Pelibuey...
The effectiveness of clove oil and cautery disbudding on horn growth was evaluated in goat kids. The study used 243 Saanen doe kids (4±1 days old; mean±SD) on two goat farms that were disbudded with...
A number of mutilating procedures, such as dehorning in cattle and goats and beak trimming in laying hens, are common in farm animal husbandry systems in an attempt to prevent or solve problems, such as...

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