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 present study examined the effects of age at group housing and age at incremental hay supplementation in calf starters from 7.5 to 15% (dry matter, DM) and their interaction on growth performance, behavior, health...
Confinement and restriction of movement are a reality for most dairy cows. Providing outdoor access is one method to increase movement opportunities. However, leading cows to an outdoor exercise area increases their exposure to manipulations...
The aim of this study was to investigate if calves’ play behaviour and non-nutritive sucking behaviour, as indirect measures of welfare status, are associated with the age of the calf when group housed, age when...
Virtual fencing involving the application of audio cues and electrical stimuli is being commercially developed for cattle. Virtual fencing has the potential to improve productivity through optimized pasture management and utilization by grazing animals. The...
In dairy industry, quality of produced milk must be more important than quantity without a high somatic cells count (SCC) or pathogens causing mastitis of dairy cows and consumer diseases. Preserving the good health of...
Allowing dairy cattle to access pasture can promote natural behaviour and improve their health. However, the psychological benefits are poorly understood. We compared a cognitive indicator of emotion in cattle either with or without pasture...
This study investigated the effect of milk allowance on the suitability of behavioural and physiological responses, individually and in combination, as early disease indicators. A total of 120 heifer calves were assigned into a 5...
The behavior and performance of steers on pasture regarding water availability in troughs or in ponds were compared. Eight paddocks were randomly allocated to one treatment: POND (~30 m of diameter) or TROUGH (water trough...
This 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...
The provision and quality of bedding materials affect the behaviour, welfare, and health of dairy cows. The objective of this study was to evaluate the preference, behaviour, cleanliness, and physiological status of cows on three...
Lying is a highly motivated behaviour in dairy cows. The level of comfort provided by the lying surface not only affects lying time, but can also affect several other aspects of welfare. We used a...
Climate change is a reality and global surface temperature is projected to rise substantially in the next 80 years. Agriculture practices will have to adapt to climate change, and also help to mitigate this effect...
There are a multitude of health monitoring techniques/ methods available. It can be difficult to know which of these to use and when to use them. This is an attempt to simplify, maximise the efficacy...
Background: Farm animals (FAs) are frequently used in biomedical research. Recommendations for the purchase, housing and health monitoring of these animals (sheep, goats, cattle and pigs) are still missing, and many institutes have developed their...
One important type of animal welfare concern is “natural living” (i.e., that animals are able to express natural behaviours that are important to them, and to engage with aspects of the natural world that they...
The concept of animal welfare (AW) has many meanings. Traditionally, AW has been considered as freedom from disease and suffering. Nowadays, growing attention goes to the concept of “positive animal welfare” (PAW), which can be...
We used an operant conditioning paradigm to test the motivation of non-pregnant dairy heifers to access shade during the summer and autumn months (January to June) in southern Brazil. Dairy heifers (n = 18) were...
There is an interest in alternative rearing systems that allow for prolonged cow-calf contact (CCC). Yet, a better understanding of cows’ affiliative behaviour in those systems is needed. We evaluated the effect of type of...
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...
Background: The nature and depth of bedding material have an important influence on cow lying behaviour and comfort. Increasing use of recycled manure solids (RMS) as bedding led to an investigation of the influence of...
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...
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...
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...
Previous studies have demonstrated that dairy cattle prefer pasture over indoor conditions especially at nighttime, which suggests they perceive pasture as an attractive place to rest. Indeed, cows avoid and spend less time lying on...

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