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. 
In a recent experiment, we showed that horses are sensitive to pet-directed speech (PDS), a kind of speech used to talk to companion animals that is characterized by high pitch and wide pitch variations. When...
Horses (Equus caballus) have been domesticated for millennia and are regularly utilized for work, sport, and companionship. Enhanced understanding of human–horse interactions can create avenues to optimize their welfare. This review explores the current research...
Human–horse interactions (HHIs) are diverse and prominent in the equine industry. Stakeholders have an invested interest in making sure that HHIs are humane. Assessment of equine welfare goes beyond physical health and includes assessment of...
The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a solitary and naturally territorial animal, with female hamsters being more aggressive than males. This behavior makes handling difficult because they are usually housed in groups, which can lead...
The white-crowned pigeon, Patagioenas leucocephala, is a species of bird not often used in research. This may be related to its anxiety during normal human interactions, such as with cage changing. Our institution acquired a...
Much environmental enrichment for laboratory animals is intended to enhance animal welfare and normalcy by providing stimulation to reduce 'boredom'. Behavioural manifestations of boredom include restless sensation-seeking behaviours combined with indicators of sub-optimal arousal. Here...
Dogs and cats use human emotional information directed to an unfamiliar situation to guide their behavior, known as social referencing. It is not clear whether other domestic species show similar socio-cognitive abilities in interacting with...
Horses kept for meat production are reared in intensive breeding farms. We employed a checklist adapted from the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) assessment protocol. Our evaluation aims to assess whether welfare indicators are influenced by...
This is the 5th volume of selected discussions that took place on the electronic Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum between February 2016 and December 2019. The forum was created in October 2002; it allows...
Humans have shared a long history with horses and today we mainly consider horses as companions for sports and leisure activities. Previously, the human perspective of the human-horse relationship has been investigated but there has...
Emotional recognition has been demonstrated to occur between members of different species. However, the majority of studies on interspecific communication of emotions so far focused on the senses of vision and hearing while the contribution...
Guinea pigs are often involved in animal-assisted therapy (AAT) but there is little knowledge about the effects of human contact on guinea pigs involved in AAT. The aim of this study was to investigate effects...
Horses reared for meat production can be kept in intensive breeding farms where they are housed in group pens at high stocking densities. The present study aimed to evaluate whether the expressed behaviours correlated with...
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...
A human–animal relationship can be developed through subsequent interactions, affected by the positive or negative emotional valence of the proceeding one. Horses implement a process of categorization to classify humans with whom they interact as...
Emotions are important for social animals because animals' emotions function as beneficial cues to identify valuable resources such as food or to avoid danger by providing environmental information. Emotions also enable animals to predict individuals'...
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...
Care given to animals, such as grooming for horses, can be a source of well-being when carried out correctly. However, it can cause discomfort when badly perceived and lead to potentially dangerous reactions. This study...
Body language is important for communication between individuals. Body language is based on the fact that the thought of performing a known action, alone, will activate the motor neurons used for the action, resulting in...
Timing of reward is very important when training horses. Incorrect timing can lead to confusion and deleterious behaviors and learning will be impaired. Clicker training can be used as an important tool in training. However...
The root cause of most welfare issues for horses is human behavior – people doing, or not doing, certain care, management or training practices. In addition, there is a gap between advancing scientific knowledge about...
A prevalent, traditional approach to horse-training is based on the belief that human dominance and leadership over horses is required to gain their respect and compliance. However, this denies the horses’ complex social organisation and...
Body language is important for communication between individuals. Body language is based on the fact that the thought, alone of performing a known action will activate the motor neurons used for the action, resulting in...
Adopting a social science perspective and qualitative methodology on the problem of laboratory fish welfare, this paper examines some underlying social factors and drivers that influence thinking, priorities and implementation of fish welfare initiatives and...
Animals come in a huge array of types, species and structures, but without realizing it, we have focused our care on those like us, mammals. They look something like us, so it's easy to empathize...

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