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. 

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...

As humans, we recognize the importance of exercise. We go to the gym, walk our dogs, and ride our horses. Even our hamsters get a wheel to run on. Considering this, it is surprising that...

The quality of the animal-human relationship and, consequently, the welfare of animals can be improved by gentle interactions such as stroking and talking. The perception of different stimuli during these interactions likely plays a key...

As the reliance upon automated systems in the livestock industry increases, technologies need to be developed which can be incorporated into these systems to monitor animal health and welfare. Infrared thermography (IRT) is one such...

Due to its increasing pressure on dairy cows, studies that investigate how to cope with heat stress are needed. The heat stress affects multiple aspects of cows’ lives, among which their behavior and welfare. In...

In this preliminary study, we compared changes in mechanical nociceptive thresholds (MNT) of calves and goat kids injected with clove oil or isoeugenol under the horn bud as a potential, more welfare-friendly alternative to hot-iron...

Positive stockperson attitudes to his or her animals is associated with a positive behavioural response in the animals and in other indicators assumed to reflect a high level of welfare as well as increased productivity...

This article provides recommendations for the care of laboratory zebrafish (Danio rerio) as part of the further implementation of Annex A to the European Convention on the protection of vertebrate animals used for experimental and...

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...

Calves reared on pasture learn to graze from their dam and conspecifics during weaning. Social learning can be beneficial for calf performance and welfare, and pair-housing and companionship on pasture have been proposed as management...

Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...

The occurrence of stereotypies in captive animals may indicate restrictions in animal welfare. In cattle, common stereotypies are tongue playing, manipulation of objects, or conspecifics. However, to our knowledge, the occurrence of stereotypies in fattening...

Model fish species such as sticklebacks and zebrafish are frequently used in studies that require DNA to be collected from live animals. This is typically achieved by fin clipping, a procedure that is simple and...

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...

Pressure algometry can be used to quantify mechanical nociceptive threshold (MNT) in humans and animals. If reliable this may be a useful tool to examine calves for increased mechanical sensitivity, which may be induced by...

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...

Respirometry has become the standard method for measuring the metabolic rate of fishes. Traditionally, respirometry has required the fish to be kept in captivity and tested under controlled conditions; however, many species do not readily...

The effect on motor paralysis of a deviation in the stun shot placement from the ideal point on cattle skulls was monitored in 627 bovine animals (271 bulls and 356 cows) stunned with a captive...

For gregarious species such as domestic cattle, the social environment is a very important determinant of their welfare and fitness. Understanding the complexity of cows' relationships can assist the development of management practices that are...

Blood sampling through the caudal vasculature is a widely used technique in fish biology for investigating organismal health and physiology. In live fishes, it can provide a quick, easy and relatively non‐invasive method for obtaining...

Gentle animal–human interactions, such as stroking, can promote positive emotions and thus welfare in cattle. While previous studies showed that stroking at the ventral neck elicited the most positive reactions in cows, intra-specific allogrooming in...

Dairy cattle are particularly susceptible to metritis, hyperketonemia (HYK), and mastitis in the weeks after calving. These high-prevalence transition diseases adversely affect animal welfare, milk production, and profitability. Our aim was to use prepartum behavior...

The human-animal interactions are a key component of human and animal welfare. The quality of this interaction can therefore be assessed by measuring the reaction response of the animals to the handler’s behavior. The aim...

Anthropogenic change is expected to alter environments at alarming rates. To predict the impact of modified environments on social behavior, we must study the relationship between environmental features and collective behavior in a genetically tractable...

The aim of this study was to determine the effects of two housing systems (thermal plastic greenhouse roofs—PGR—vs. without roof—PWR) on health, welfare, and finishing performance of zebu steers in cold arid environments. A total...

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