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. 
Injurious pecking, commonly controlled by beak trimming (BT), is a widespread issue in laying hens associated with thwarted foraging. This controlled study compared the effect in intact and beak-trimmed pullets of providing pecking pans to...
Members of the North American 3Rs Collaborative (NA3RsC) refinement initiative have chosen to summarize developments in five hot topics of interest: 1. Tips for welfare-friendly transport, chairing, and restraint; 2. Guidance on refining food and...
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...
Feather pecking and cannibalism are behavioral disorders that cause animal-welfare-relevant and economic problems. To mitigate these problems, the beaks of conventionally reared turkeys are usually already trimmed in the hatcheries. To find an alternative to...
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...
Severe feather pecking (SFP) is a major animal welfare problem in layers. It results in pain and injuries in the affected animal. It was the aim of this study to gain insight into the actual...
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...
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...
Beak trimming in laying hens limits the negative consequences of injurious pecking, but could be prohibited by future regulations. This study assessed a combination of management strategies during the rearing period (objects, perches, music, human...
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...
The present study assessed the diurnal variation in salivary cortisol in captive African elephants during routine management (baseline) and in relation to a potential stressor (translocation) to evaluate to what extent acute stress may affect...
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...
Interactions between zoo professionals and animals occur regularly and are believed to be enriching for animals. Little empirical information exists on how animals perceive these interactions, and particularly how the interactions affect the emotional states...
Infrared beak treatment has less of a negative impact on laying hen welfare compared to other methods of beak treatment; however, it is still not fully understood how infrared beak treatment affects the beak tissue...
Keel bone fractures (KBF) in laying hens pose a severe problem for animal welfare as they are likely to be associated with pain and suffering. Furthermore, they are suspected to hinder or restrict hens in...
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...
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...
Lame broiler chickens perform poorly in standardised mobility tests and have nociceptive thresholds that differ from those of non-lame birds, even when confounding factors such as differences in bodyweight are accounted for. This study investigated...
Poultry transport systems are currently under investigation with a particular focus on design and dimensions of commercially available transport crates. The height of the crates currently used is debated and considered by some parties to...
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...
Severe feather-pecking, whereby birds peck at and pull out the feathers of other birds, is one of the greatest welfare concerns and the most prevalent behavioural problem in laying hens. It can be extremely difficult...

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