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 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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Animals are likely to appraise events as positive or negative based on their subjective perception, current state and past experiences. We tested the effects of anticipating positive (food anticipation), negative (inaccessible food) and neutral (clicker...

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...

Blood sampling through the caudal vasculature is a widely used technique in fish biology for investigating organismal health and physiology. In live fishes, it can provide a quick, easy and relatively non‐invasive method for obtaining...

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...

Pain induces deficits in appreciation of rewards (i.e. anhedonia) and variation in response to pain may be partly explained by individual differences in general expectations (i.e. optimism). Dairy calves are routinely subjected to painful procedures...

On farms, female mink are exposed to acute stressors multiple times due to handling, capturing and transport with restricted movement being a typical part of the mating procedure. We hypothesised that no relocation (group NON...

Traditional animal welfare paradigms have focused on maintaining physical health and mitigating negative impacts to wellbeing. Recently, however, the field has increasingly recognized the importance of positive welfare (i.e., mental and physical states that exceed...

Understanding the emotions of dairy cows is primarily important in enhancing the level of welfare and provide a better life on farm. This study explored whether eye white and ear posture can reliably contribute to...

Assessing emotional states of dairy calves is an essential part of welfare assessment, but standardized protocols are absent. The present study aims at assessing the emotional states of dairy calves and establishing a reliable standard...

The assessment of personality in farm animals and its relation to other behavioural and physiological traits is of growing scientific and practical interest. Therefore, the aims of the present study were first to assess the...

Fish batches are often transported from aquacultures to laboratory facilities, and this fact triggers a pre-stressed condition that can cause alterations in both physiological and behavioural status of animals. The acclimation before fish trials is...

Individual animal personalities affect experiences of zoo environments, and thus potentially welfare. Incorporating keeper knowledge of animal personality in a reliable way has great value in optimising welfare in zoo-housed animals. Assessment of animal personality...

Applying objective measures to assess the emotional states of animals is an important area of research and essential for improving animal welfare. In this study, we have built upon previous research to test whether ear...

The effects of structural enrichment in the hatchery rearing environment of brown trout Salmo trutta was linked to post-release performance. Enrichment resulted in reduced swimming activity scored in an open field test and reduced movement...

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...

Individual housing of dairy calves is common farm practice, but has negative effects on calf welfare. A compromise between practice and welfare may be housing calves in pairs. We compared learning performances and affective states...

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