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. 
A negative human-animal relationship (HAR) from the perspective of the animal is a limiting factor affecting farm animal welfare, as well as farm animal productivity. Research in farm animals has elucidated sequential relationships between stockperson...
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...
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...
People often express concern for the welfare of farm animals, but research on this topic has relied upon self-report. Facial expressions provide a quantifiable measure of emotional response that may be less susceptible to social...
To date, Qualitative Behavior Assessment (QBA) has not been used to measure the welfare of pre-partum Zebu heifers treated with practices of positive handling. The study objective was to investigate the effect of brushing as...
Institutions that conduct high-containment agricultural research involving domestic livestock represent a specialized category of programs that are accredited by AAALAC International. The accreditation process includes a comprehensive assessment of the overall program of animal care...
Gentle human-animal interactions can induce positive emotions in cattle and enhance their welfare. We investigated whether a change in the animals’ perceived control over the situation influences their perception of the interactions. We compared the...
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...
For over a century, the practice of deflighting has taken place in zoological collections in order to ensure birds remain in open-topped enclosures. Over time, efforts have been made to improve or develop new (surgical)...
The objective of this study was to describe the effect of penetrating or non-penetrating captive bolt using an occipital approach in 4–5 month old, Holstein steers weighing between 100–200 kg. Twelve calves were divided into...
Euthanasia is a valuable management tool utilized on dairies to end the suffering of sick or debilitated cows. Euthanasia should be implemented if an animal’s pain cannot be adequately alleviated and if there is a...
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...
Dehorning causes pain and distress to cattle, and there is a need to provide effective and practical analgesia to improve animal welfare. We conducted an experiment to determine the effect of a modified post-operative topical...
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...
Housing systems and environmental features can influence beef cattle welfare. To date, little information has been synthesized on this topic. The aim of this scoping review was to examine the relationship between housing and welfare...
The animal-human relationship is essential for farm animal welfare and production. Generally, gentle tactile and vocal interactions improve the animal-human relationship in cattle. However, cows that are fearful of humans avoid their close presence and...
This study aimed at assessing whether a reduction in stocking density (SKD) would mitigate lameness and positively affect the performance and health of Charolais bulls in an Italian commercial farm. Bulls were distributed in groups...
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...
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 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...
This is a literature review of the effects of humans' relationships with farm animals on animal productivity and welfare, including the following topics: definition of the concept and description of different tests that have been...
The human–animal relationship is an important welfare parameter in animal welfare assessment in cows, and the avoidance distance of cows to a stranger at the feed bunk is measured to assess this relationship. The assessment...
Limited space in dairy cattle farming is associated with frequent encounters between cows, often resulting in agonistic interactions and injuries, especially in horned cows. Previous studies with dairy cows investigated space allowances in the waiting...
A thorough understanding of how animals fly is a central goal of many scientific disciplines. Birds are a commonly used model organism for flight research. The success of this model requires studying healthy and naturally...
With the exception of a detailed Directive for calves, the welfare of dairy cattle is not regulated by species-specific legislation in the European Union. Their basic protection falls under the provisions of Directive 98/58/EC, also...

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