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. 
The main conditions and diseases considered painful in dairy cows are mastitis, lameness, calving (including dystocia and caesarean section) and metritis. The cattle literature reports that deviation from normal daily activity patterns (both increased and/or...
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...
There is increasing recognition that farm animal welfare standards should ensure positive welfare, as well as prevent negative welfare. Resources that are valued by an animal and that provide opportunities to engage in motivated behaviours...
Social housing for dairy calves has a range of benefits for social development, yet there is limited understanding of how social bonds form early in life. We characterized effects of early life social contact on...
Our objectives were to evaluate the effect of stationary brush quantity on brush use and competition in weaned dairy heifers naïve to brushes. Sixty-three Holstein heifers (95 ± 5.7 days old) were housed in groups...
Housing unweaned calves individually in barren environments negatively affects their growth, cognitive ability, and adaptability to environmental changes in later life. Social housing has been shown to improve those aspects, whereas physical environmental enrichment has...
The present study examined the effects of age at group housing and age at incremental hay supplementation in calf starters from 7.5 to 15% (dry matter, DM) and their interaction on growth performance, behavior, health...
As a global society, we have a duty to provide suitable care and conditions for farmed livestock to protect animal welfare and ensure the sustainability of our food supply. The suitability and biological impacts of...
Selected technological solutions can impact health status of animals. The aim of this case study was to determine the effect of different housing systems on disease prevalence and the productive lifespan of dairy cows. In...
Light from the environment is important for vision and regulating various biological processes. Providing supplemental lighting in the stall area could allow for individually targeted or group-level control of light. This study aimed to determine...
The effect of milk production systems on the welfare of dairy cows has been studied worldwide, but studies that compare pasture-based, compost barn, and free stall systems, according to animal welfare, are more scarce. In...
Field evidence indicates that livestock producers are motivated by access to products that readily deliver pain management during husbandry interventions and, more recently, viral epidermal infectious diseases, including FMD. There has been impressive adoption in...
Digital dermatitis (DD) is an infectious skin disease in cattle that causes pain and discomfort, significantly impacting animal welfare. Although DD lesions are painful and prone to bleeding when touched, pain resulting from DD has...
We assessed effects of two-step debonding strategies in calf rearing systems with different types of prolonged cow-calf contact (CCC) on stress responses, health and performance of dairy cows and calves. Forty-eight Holstein Friesian cow-calf pairs...
A fundamental understanding of behavior is essential to improving the welfare of billions of farm animals around the world. Despite living in an environment managed by humans, farm animals are still capable of making important...
Vocalization and other behavior signals are used as tools to assess animal welfare in beef calves. This paper aimed to compare vocal parameters and behavior signals expressed by beef calves submitted either to ear tagging...
Vocalization may communicate the emotional state in vocal animals. We aimed to describe and compare vocalization and other behavioral signs of cow-calf pairs in emotionally negative and positive situations, and the potential influence of genetic...
Calves are frequently disbudded to reduce the number of injuries due to horns to other animals and farm workers. The most commonly used method is thermal disbudding which is increasingly causing animal welfare concerns (Stafford...
A novel livestock management system (LMS) for dairy cows mainly based on a high forage:concentrate ratio, no silage, and large outdoor paddocks, has been introduced in Italy during the last five years. It was proved...
Many wild animals perform hiding behaviours for a variety of reasons, such as evading predators or other conspecifics. Unlike their wild counterparts, farmed animals often live in relatively barren environments without the opportunity to hide...
As dairy cows are being housed for longer periods, with all-year-round housing growing in popularity, it is important to ensure housed environments are meeting the needs of cows. Dairy cows are motivated to access open...
Background: While most cattle and sheep in the United Kingdom are stunned before slaughter, non-stun methods are permitted to supply meat to specific consumers. This study aimed to identify the existing literature that compared animal...
Most dairy calves are housed individually in early ontogeny but social housing has positive effects on calf welfare including an advantage of social buffering, i.e., when negative effects of stress are mitigated through social support...
As a global society, we have a duty to provide suitable care and conditions for farmed livestock to protect animal welfare and ensure the sustainability of our food supply. The suitability and biological impacts of...
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...

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