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. 
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...
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...
The regulations for minimal space and direction of travel for land transport in horses vary worldwide and there is currently no definitive guidance to promote equine health and welfare. This study evaluated the effects of...
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...
Humans have shared a long history with horses and today we mainly consider horses as companions for sports and leisure activities. Previously, the human perspective of the human-horse relationship has been investigated but there has...
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...
Training nonhuman primates (NHPs) to perform cognitive tasks is essential for many neuroscientific investigations, yet laboratory training is a time-consuming process with inherent limitations. Habituating NHPs to the laboratory staff and experimental equipment can take...
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...
Timing of reward is very important when training horses. Incorrect timing can lead to confusion and deleterious behaviors and learning will be impaired. Clicker training can be used as an important tool in training. However...
A prevalent, traditional approach to horse-training is based on the belief that human dominance and leadership over horses is required to gain their respect and compliance. However, this denies the horses’ complex social organisation and...
Body language is important for communication between individuals. Body language is based on the fact that the thought, alone of performing a known action will activate the motor neurons used for the action, resulting in...
Horses are routinely transported for access to safe off-road riding, veterinary care, breeding, sale, or moving to a new home environment. However, transport is a known stressor in horses. For this reason, problem behavior when...
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}]...
A cohort of captive-bred red-eared slider turtles, Trachemys scripta, was received from a commercial vendor. Shortly after arrival, several turtles presented as lethargic with subjectively pale skin and multifocal areas of cotton-like tufts in the...
Food motivation may influence an animal’s performance in food-rewarded learning tasks. Nevertheless, food is often used as a positive reinforcer in learning tasks to investigate cognitive abilities of farm animals, and to test effects of...
High stall stocking rates have been shown to alter behavior of cows in parlor-milked systems; however, no studies have examined stocking rates for cows milked with automatic milking systems (AMSs). Therefore, we examined the influence...
Understanding the neural circuits underlying equine behaviour has the potential to help optimise strategies of husbandry and training. This review discusses two areas of neurophysiological research in a range of species and relates this information...
The primary purpose of this study was to characterize operant learning performance of young foals. For each of 26 foals, aged 6–20 weeks, learning performance was quantitatively evaluated in a single brief training trial using...
While ex situ conservation programs of juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas Linnaeus, 1758), before release to natural habitats, have been conducted in several countries, the optimal‐stocking density for husbandry has not yet been reported. The...
This paper describes a method in which horses learn to communicate by touching different neutral visual symbols, in order to tell the handler whether they want to have a blanket on or not. Horses were...
Domestic horses are regularly subjected to stressful situations due to management practices, such as social isolation, transport and farriery or, in general due to exposure to new/sudden stimuli. These situations may eventually be harmful to...
While clinical reptile medicine as a science is in its ascendancy among veterinary surgeons and other interested groups, familiarity with the often related issue of reptilian behavioural and psychological health appears less common. Behavioural change...
In the last decade several surveys of primate care and training programs highlight a common theme; despite scientific evidence that animal training can be effective in reducing stress, increasing efficiency and improving veterinary care, animal...

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