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. 

Housing management of dairy calves is one of the factors that contributes to a successful rearing outcome. Individual housing of pre-weaned calves is thought to provide enhanced biosecurity and easier monitoring of the individual, and...

The objective of this study was to determine the effects of social housing, the provision of physical enrichment, and the interaction between the two on calf growth, behaviour and fearfulness. Forty-eight calves were randomly allocated...

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of pair versus individual housing on performance, health, and behavior of dairy calves. Thirty female Holstein dairy calves were assigned to individual (n = 10)...

Sheep lameness is a major concern among farmers and policymakers with significant impacts on animal welfare standards as well as financial and production performance. The present study attempts to identify the relative importance of environmental...

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...

The quality of the social environment should be studied as one of the welfare components of dairy herds. Licking and preference between cows are important socio-positive experiences in this context.The aims of this study were...

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...

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...

According to international housing recommendations, fattening bulls should not be housed in groups of more than 12–20 animals. However, there are no scientific studies supporting these recommendations as most studies on fattening cattle refer to...

Dairy calves are often housed in individual pens, which limits play behaviour. This study investigates whether the motivation for social play builds up during periods of deprivation hereof. Sixteen mixed-sex pairs of calves (33 ±...

Dairy calf welfare concerns are growing and new evidence suggests that the early life environment influences appropriate physical, behavioral, and cognitive development lasting into adulthood. This review highlights key evidence for the impacts of housing...

Tracking individual animals with small-sized passive integrated transponder tags (PIT tags) has become a popular and widespread method, one which can be used for investigating life history traits, including dispersal patterns of small protected animals...

Individual housing of dairy calves is common farm practice, but has negative effects on calf welfare. A compromise between practice and welfare may be housing calves in pairs. We compared learning performances and affective states...

The management of socially complex species in captivity is challenging. Research on their social behavior improves our understanding of interactions in captive animals and captive-group management. We conducted a detailed analysis of social relationships shown...

Separation from the group is a potent stressor for sheep and may have an adverse effect on animal welfare. Therefore, the present study was initiated to determine the effect of short-term seclusion of sheep on...

The presence of a social partner may significantly contribute to coping with stressful events, whereas dyadic separation generally increases glucocorticoid levels and, thereby, might also affect immune function and health. To study the covariation between...

Social species in captivity may face allostatic overload due to artificial grouping and other social constraints. In rescue centres, groups of psittacines are constantly mixed due to the arrival and/or release of individuals; this procedure...

Recent studies suggest that cognitive bias could constitute a novel and valid measure of animal welfare. Although interest for a link between personality and cognition is growing, no study to date investigated whether a cognitive...

The psychological and physiological effects of different genres of music are well documented in humans. These concepts have also been studied in kenneled dogs and some exotic animals, implying that animals may experience benefits similar...

Gray parrots (Psittacus erithacus) are popular companion birds, particularly noted for their ability to mimic human speech, their intelligence, and longevity. They are also prone to developing abnormal behaviors such as feather damaging behavior. This...

Group size (GS) and space allowance have major implications for the welfare of production species, however their effects are often confounded. In a previous study we investigated the impact of varying space allowance at constant...

Contentious issues in calf rearing include milk feeding level and single versus group housing. The current study was performed on a high-producing 170 Holstein cow dairy farm to investigate the impact of nutrition and housing...

Rodents and primates deprived of early social contact exhibit deficits in learning and behavioural flexibility. They often also exhibit apparent signs of elevated anxiety, although the relationship between these effects has not been studied. To...

The study of laboratory animal behavior has increased steadily over the last decade, with expanding emphasis on a variety of commonly used species. In the United States, this trend was initially focused on species for...

Early social housing is known to benefit cognitive development in laboratory animals. Pre-weaned dairy calves are typically separated from their dam immediately after birth and housed alone, but no work to date has addressed the...

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