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...
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...
Despite the widely used application of standardized capture-handling protocols to collect blood and assess the physiological stress response, the actual sampling design (e.g., timing and the number of blood samples) often differs between studies, and...
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...
Gentle human-animal interactions can induce positive emotions in cattle and enhance their welfare. We investigated whether a change in the animals’ perceived control over the situation influences their perception of the interactions. We compared the...
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...
Temperament assessment is useful in reintroduction programs. Reactivity to humans and flight ability are also important behavioral aspects for captive parrots candidates to reintroduction. The study aimed: a) to evaluate if behavioral responses to environmental...
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...
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...
Alpacas are increasingly kept in Europe for different purposes including fibre production. Yearly shearing is necessary to harvest fibre and for welfare reasons. Different methods of restraint are used during shearing, which may affect the...
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...
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...
Examining the literature suggests equine personality is of interest to behavior and welfare scientists and those involved in the equine industry. Study and assessment of personality is critical because of the profound implications certain traits...
This study aimed at assessing whether a reduction in stocking density (SKD) would mitigate lameness and positively affect the performance and health of Charolais bulls in an Italian commercial farm. Bulls were distributed in groups...
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...
Leg problems are highly prevalent in modern broiler production and provision of environmental enrichment could be a strategy to improve leg health. Different types of environmental enrichment have undergone evaluation. Our objective was to conduct...
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...
Limited space in dairy cattle farming is associated with frequent encounters between cows, often resulting in agonistic interactions and injuries, especially in horned cows. Previous studies with dairy cows investigated space allowances in the waiting...
Cattle mother-offspring contact calls encode individual-identity information; however, it is unknown whether cattle are able to maintain individuality when vocalising to familiar conspecifics over other positively and negatively valenced farming contexts. Accordingly, we recorded 333...
Feather pecking (FP) is a multifactorial problem in all housing systems. Using a case-control design we wanted to determine a set of variables which may be decisive for a flock to become case or control...
In fiscal year 2016, agricultural animals such as swine, sheep, goats, and cattle represented 10% of the 820 812 animals used in USDA-regulated research. In addition to traditional agricultural animals, research studies using captive wildlife...
Studies investigating the welfare of commercial-line broiler chickens raised in houses with outdoor access in the tropics are scarce, and none have investigated whether responses vary according to indoor conditions. Hence, we assessed the effects...
The laying hen industry is implementing aviary systems intended to improve welfare by providing hens with more space and resources to perform species-specific behaviors. To date, limited research has examined spatial requirements of various strains...

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