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 we learn more about the importance of gene-environment interactions and the effects of environmental enrichment, it becomes evident that minimalistic laboratory conditions can affect gene expression patterns and behaviors of model organisms. In the...

To date, Qualitative Behavior Assessment (QBA) has not been used to measure the welfare of pre-partum Zebu heifers treated with practices of positive handling. The study objective was to investigate the effect of brushing as...

Environmental enrichment (EE) can increase the environmental complexity of feedlots by providing mental and physical stimulation. The objectives of the study were to 1) identify hourly patterns of feedlot steer behaviour and 2) evaluate the...

Early cow–calf separation management induced various welfare problems for dairy calves. We mimicked the maternal licking by manually brushing right after the Holstein female calves were born and during their first week of life, termed...

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...

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...

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...

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...

This article describes the steps for making a DIY guinea pig or rabbit cardboard foraging ball. Pictures are provided for each step as well as the completed ball. These cardboard foraging balls can be made...

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...

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...

In livestock farming, a stark or barren environment compromises animal welfare. Environmental enrichment has been used to address the issue. For this study, after fattening cattle were provided with a grooming device (a brush), its...

In dairy farming, social isolation of cattle is commonly practiced for husbandry procedures such as artificial insemination, claw trimming and at times, for provision of medical treatment. When isolated, cows express physiological and behavioural signs...

In livestock farming, a stark or barren environment compromises animal welfare. Environmental enrichment has been used to address the issue. For this study, after fattening cattle were provided with a grooming device (a brush), its...

The presentation I gave at IAT Congress 2019 was based on the changes and refinements the University of Dundee, Medical School Resource Unit (MSRU) has made over the past 18 months. These changes, described in...

Twenty-eight bulls weighing 227 ± 6.8 (SD) kg were randomly assigned to four concentrate levels (1-1.5 kg [low level of concentrate {LC}], 1.5-2 kg [medium level of concentrate], 2-2.5 kg [high level of concentrate {HC}]...

Little is known about the effect of shelter design on sheltering behavior in out-wintered cattle. In this pilot study, we explored the effects of two different shelter designs (rectangular: 50 m2 vs. hexagonal 53 m2...

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...

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...

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 natural environments, cattle use trees and other abrasive surfaces to scratch and groom themselves. Modern indoor dairy cattle housing systems often lack appropriate grooming substrates, restricting the animals’ ability to groom. We assessed 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...

Calf housing often only meets the basic needs of calves, but there is a growing interest in providing enrichments. This study described the behaviour of calves when they were given the opportunity to interact with...

In the milk producing industry, most aspects of maternal behaviour are discouraged, but milk production is actively maintained in the absence of the calf. The process of milk let down, is mediated, at least partly...

In many species, environmental complexity is known to affect cognitive development, yet it is common to house dairy calves individually in restrictive environments. The hypothesis of this study was that providing calves with simple nutritional...

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