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. 

Husbandry training and environmental enrichment are both important advancements associated with current behavioural welfare practices. Additionally, the use of training procedures has been proposed as a form of enrichment, with the implication that training can...

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...

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...

How many of us have had this experience? We go to a conference, we read an article, we watch a video. We understand operant conditioning. We grasp the concepts behind clicker training, target training, and...

Professional animal trainer now Animal Health Technician explains various animal training terms and concepts.

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...

Weaning calves at a young age can generate great stress, but it is widely practiced in the industry despite that. So, to what extend weaning in early ages is more stressful than at later ones...

Our objective was to determine the impact of different habituation protocols on beef cattle behavior, physiology, and temperament in response to human handling. Beef heifers were exposed to three habituation strategies: (1) tactile stimulation (brushing)...

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...

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...

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...

Hematology is a common tool for wildlife health assessments. Manual leukocyte counts are required in reptiles, however, disagreement between quantification methods has been observed in some chelonians. This study determined agreement between two methods of...

If a laboratory animal survives an experiment without lasting compromised welfare, its future must be negotiated. Rehoming may be a consideration. This paper reports on research findings that provide an indication of the uptake of...

Studies on the etiology of behavioral problems often involve interference in the animal's routine or reliance on owners' self-reports like surveys. Gathering data from videos posted on social media, a technique coined ‘video mining’, offers...

Isolation during calving is a common dairy cow behavior, however it has not been examined in large outdoor group settings. The provision of “hides” was monitored for its impact on calving location and cow–calf behavior...

The welfare impact of birth on newborn calves has rarely been studied. Dystocia in particular may have significant welfare costs for calves. While analgesia is sometimes provided to calves born to difficult parturition by veterinary...

The actions of human caretakers strongly influence animals living under human care. Here, we consider how intentional and unintentional signals provided by caretakers can inform our assessment of animals' well-being as well as help to...

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...

Development of calves depends on prenatal and postnatal conditions. Primiparous cows were still maturing during pregnancy, which can lead to negative intrauterine conditions and affect the calf’s metabolism. It is hypothesized that weaning calves at...

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...

The use of agricultural animals in biomedical research is increasing. Their overall size and metabolic rate, organ size, longer gestation period, and other physiological similarities make them good candidates for animal models of human disease...

Aquatic vertebrates and cephalopods, amphibians, reptiles, and birds offer unique safety and occupational health challenges for laboratory animal personnel. This paper discusses environmental, handling, and zoonotic concerns associated with these species.

Dystocia is considered painful and stressful for both the dam and the calf, although systematic evidence of this is limited. Few studies have investigated biochemical markers of stress and pain postpartum and whether any adverse...

The aim of the study was to assess pain in Bos indicus bull calves following surgical castration. Forty-two animals were randomised to four groups: no castration (NC, n = 6); castration with pre-operative lidocaine (CL...

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