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. 

As the reliance upon automated systems in the livestock industry increases, technologies need to be developed which can be incorporated into these systems to monitor animal health and welfare. Infrared thermography (IRT) is one such...

Due to its increasing pressure on dairy cows, studies that investigate how to cope with heat stress are needed. The heat stress affects multiple aspects of cows’ lives, among which their behavior and welfare. In...

Positive stockperson attitudes to his or her animals is associated with a positive behavioural response in the animals and in other indicators assumed to reflect a high level of welfare as well as increased productivity...

Mechanical brushes allow cows to groom. Mange is common in indoor-housed cattle, and this affliction may affect cow motivation to use a mechanical brush. The aim of this study was to assess changes in dairy...

Calves reared on pasture learn to graze from their dam and conspecifics during weaning. Social learning can be beneficial for calf performance and welfare, and pair-housing and companionship on pasture have been proposed as management...

The occurrence of stereotypies in captive animals may indicate restrictions in animal welfare. In cattle, common stereotypies are tongue playing, manipulation of objects, or conspecifics. However, to our knowledge, the occurrence of stereotypies in fattening...

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...

Pressure algometry can be used to quantify mechanical nociceptive threshold (MNT) in humans and animals. If reliable this may be a useful tool to examine calves for increased mechanical sensitivity, which may be induced by...

The effect on motor paralysis of a deviation in the stun shot placement from the ideal point on cattle skulls was monitored in 627 bovine animals (271 bulls and 356 cows) stunned with a captive...

Gentle animal–human interactions, such as stroking, can promote positive emotions and thus welfare in cattle. While previous studies showed that stroking at the ventral neck elicited the most positive reactions in cows, intra-specific allogrooming in...

Dairy cattle are particularly susceptible to metritis, hyperketonemia (HYK), and mastitis in the weeks after calving. These high-prevalence transition diseases adversely affect animal welfare, milk production, and profitability. Our aim was to use prepartum behavior...

The aim of this study was to determine the effects of two housing systems (thermal plastic greenhouse roofs—PGR—vs. without roof—PWR) on health, welfare, and finishing performance of zebu steers in cold arid environments. A total...

Cognitive challenges may provide a form of enrichment to improve the welfare of captive animals. Primates, dolphins, and goats will voluntarily participate in learning tasks suggesting that these are rewarding, but little work has been...

Requirements for animal and dairy products are increasing gradually in emerging economic bodies. However, it is critical and challenging to maintain the health and welfare of the increasing population of dairy cattle, especially the dairy...

The bedding materials used in dairy cow housing systems are extremely important for animal welfare and performance. A wide range of materials can be used as bedding for dairy cattle, but their physical properties must...

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...

Dairy housing systems can have major implications on how freely cows move within their environment and how fully they can express their behavioral repertoire, impacting overall welfare. To ensure housing systems are meeting the needs...

The purpose of the disbudding of cattle is to decrease the number and severity of both deliberate and accidental injuries to other animals or workers caused by horned animals. The most commonly used method is...

Dairy calves must be fed appropriately to meet their nutritional needs, supporting optimal growth and development to achieve the recommended target age at first calving (AFC) of 24 months. Traditional restricted milk feeding practices suppress...

Dehorning causes pain and distress to cattle, and there is a need to provide effective and practical analgesia to improve animal welfare. We conducted an experiment to determine the effect of a modified post-operative topical...

Outdoor and extensive farming systems allow animals to behave in a natural way and are often perceived as welfare friendly. Nonetheless, the natural environment poses multiple challenges to the welfare of animals, sometimes hampering their...

A widespread management practice in commercial dairy farms is to stop milk production artificially commonly 2 months before expected calving, in a process termed drying-off. Dry-off management normally encompasses dietary changes as well as abrupt...

The aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of environmental enrichment (EE), in the form of a cattle brush, on feedlot cattle behavior, productivity and stress physiology. Steers were blocked by weight...

Euthanasia is a valuable management tool utilized on dairies to end the suffering of sick or debilitated cows. Euthanasia should be implemented if an animal’s pain cannot be adequately alleviated and if there is a...

Hot-iron disbudding, a routine procedure that prevents horn bud growth through cauterization, is painful for calves. The resulting burns remain sensitive to touch for weeks, but it is unknown whether calves experience ongoing, non-evoked pain...

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