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)...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Boredom, while often casually attributed to non-human animals by both laypeople and scientists, has received little empirical study in this context. It is sometimes dismissed by others as anthropomorphic or a trivial concern in comparison...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Human body odors contain chemosignals that make species-specific communication possible. Interspecies communication studies were conducted on dogs and horses subjected to human chemosignals produced in happiness and fear emotional states. Dogs showed behaviors consistent with...

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