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. 
Vocalization may communicate the emotional state in vocal animals. We aimed to describe and compare vocalization and other behavioral signs of cow-calf pairs in emotionally negative and positive situations, and the potential influence of genetic...
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...
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...
Animal personality, the consistent between-individual differences in e.g., risk-taking, exploration, antipredator or mating behaviours, has major impacts on the fitness of individuals in many species. Understanding how to quantify animal personality should help us predicting...
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...
Comparative thanatology encompasses the study of death-related responses in non-human animals and aspires to elucidate the evolutionary origins of human behavior in the context of death. Many reports have revealed that humans are not the...
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...
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...
Mikhalevich & Powell (2020) argue that it is wrong to dismiss the idea of sentience in invertebrates. Here, I expand on the evidence for crustaceans responding to noxious stimuli in ways that are not explained...
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...
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...
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...
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...
We searched a selection of the scientific literature to document evidence for, and explorations into reptile sentience. The intention of this review was to highlight; (1) to what extent reptile capability for emotions have been...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Personality, defined as consistent between-individual variation in clusters of behavioral traits independent of factors such as age or sex, emerges in most animal species tested so far. The number of invertebrate species discovered to have...
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...
Recent research suggests that personality, defined as consistent individual behavioral variation, in farm animals could be an important factor when considering their health, welfare, and productivity. However, behavioral tests are often performed individually and they...
Reduced space can lead to crowding in social animals. Crowding increases the risk of agonistic interactions that, in turn, may require additional physiological defensive coping mechanisms affecting health. To determine the stress induced from increased...
Fish are one of the most highly utilised vertebrate taxa by humans; they are harvested from wild stocks as part of global fishing industries, grown under intensive aquaculture conditions, are the most common pet and...

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