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. 
In conventional rearing systems, fast-growing broiler chickens commonly experience welfare issues, such as contact dermatitis, walking difficulties or a lack of expression of species-specific behaviours. Enriching their environment may be a way to improve their...
Horses are commonly trained using negative reinforcement. However, a growing body of scientific evidence supports positive reinforcement as an efficient training method for horses. In this study we investigated the effects of adding a small...
Despite donkeys being involved in various activities with humans, their cognitive and learning abilities are still little known. A deeper understanding of their perceptive, cognitive and learning processes is, thus, necessary to preserve their well-being...
As a global society, we have a duty to provide suitable care and conditions for farmed livestock to protect animal welfare and ensure the sustainability of our food supply. The suitability and biological impacts of...
In conclusion, the investigations carried out up to now demonstrate that during the early stages fish show high sensitivity to many types of stressors involving an array of responses to overcome alterations that could affect...
How many of us have had this experience? We go to a conference, we read an article, we watch a video. We understand operant conditioning. We grasp the concepts behind clicker training, target training, and...
Although alpacas are becoming increasingly popular animals, their behaviour towards humans has received little research interest until now. The purpose of our study was to investigate, for the first time, associations between caretaker attitudes and...
Access to pasture is a main benefit of free-range broiler housing systems, yet the level of outdoor stocking density on broiler animal welfare remains unsettled. The growth, feather damage, pasture ranging and behaviors were assessed...
Questionnaires are very useful tools when it comes to assessing zoo based animal measures and caretakers of these animals (such as keepers, trainers and veterinarians) are in the best position to provide accurate answers to...
In a 2018 AALAS webinar on Sheep and Goat Analgesia, Dr. Susie Vogel, a small ruminant expert, introduced the concept of getting sheep and goats to willingly take medication by putting it in a tasty...
Barren housing and high stocking densities may contribute to negative affective states in broiler chickens, reducing their welfare. We investigated the effects of environmental complexity and stocking density on broilers’ attention bias (measure of anxiety)...
Resting behaviours make up a large part of the daily time budget of broilers. However, in intensive broiler production systems disruptions of resting behaviours occur, where resting individuals get disturbed by active individuals. Such interruptions...
Research with captive wildlife in Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL2) and 3 (ABSL3) facilities is becoming increasingly necessary as emerging and re-emerging diseases involving wildlife have increasing impacts on human, animal, and environmental health. Utilizing...
The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a solitary and naturally territorial animal, with female hamsters being more aggressive than males. This behavior makes handling difficult because they are usually housed in groups, which can lead...
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...
Cattle are subjected to routine procedures that require restraint and close contact to humans, which are both potentially aversive to the animal. Positive reinforcement training techniques may affect how animals perceive and respond to these...
Dealing with potential stress in species that have high husbandry requirements, such as elephants, is a challenge for zoos. The objective of the present study was to determine whether positive reinforcement training (PRT) and exposure...
Comprehensively explains animal learning theories and current best practices in animal training within zoos. This accessible, up-to-date book on animal training in a zoo/aquaria context provides a unified approach to zoo animal learning, bringing together...
Personality is often defined as the behaviour of individual animals that is consistent across contexts and over time. Personality traits may become unstable during stages of ontogeny from infancy to adulthood, especially during major periods...
The regulations for minimal space and direction of travel for land transport in horses vary worldwide and there is currently no definitive guidance to promote equine health and welfare. This study evaluated the effects of...
Captive welfare studies in odontocete species have been mostly conducted on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) while the welfare of many other species’ -including endangered species- remains poorly studied. More research is needed to find and...
Hamsters have historically been used in our pharmacokinetic (PK) studies using the retro-orbital (RO) bleeding technique to collect blood samples. If performed incorrectly, this technique has the potential for animal welfare complications not usually seen...
Research in ecology and wildlife biology remains crucial for increasing our knowledge and improving species management and conservation in the midst of the current biodiversity crisis. However, obtaining information on population status often involves invasive...
Housing systems and environmental features can influence beef cattle welfare. To date, little information has been synthesized on this topic. The aim of this scoping review was to examine the relationship between housing and welfare...
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...

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