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. 
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) are an economically and ecologically important fish species that interact with humans during farming, fishing and research operations. Routine handling in nets exposes fish to mesh and causes scale loss. To...
Despite the widely used application of standardized capture-handling protocols to collect blood and assess the physiological stress response, the actual sampling design (e.g., timing and the number of blood samples) often differs between studies, and...
Introduction: Transport to the clinic is a major source of stress for cats. The process involves being put into a carrier, driven in a car and handled. Cats are therefore removed from the safe-haven of...
Routine handling has been shown to affect stress levels in a variety of animal species. This could result in a general decrease in welfare and may confound the results of scientific experiments or observations on...
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...
Use of scruffing and scruffing tools (eg, clipnosis clips) to immobilise cats is contentious, and cat handling guidelines vary in recommendations regarding these techniques. The current study examined whether cats show negative responses to the...
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 article describes the care of central bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) as well as Pygmy bearded dragons (Pogona henrylawsoni). It includes information on housing, feeding, handling and sexing technique, as well as the general health...
Gentling of cats in a shelter has been shown to increase contented behaviors and reduce anxiety, but it is not clear how gentling should be provided. Two experiments were conducted in cats confined to cages...
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...
Reptiles are popular as pets and it is, therefore, important to understand how different aspects of housing and husbandry impact on their behaviour and welfare. One potential cause of stress in captive reptiles is interaction...
Although the domestic cat (Felis catus) is probably the most widespread companion animal in the world and interacts in a complex and multifaceted way with humans, the human–cat relationship and reciprocal communication have received far...
Owned, shelter, and laboratory cats undergo handling and restraint throughout their lifetime for routine health examinations and necessary procedures. Many cats display fear and aggressive behaviour during health examinations, and there is potential for these...
Cats employ vocalizations for communicating information, thus their sounds can carry a wide range of meanings. Concerning vocalization, an aspect of increasing relevance directly connected with the welfare of such animals is its emotional interpretation...
Our objective was to identify and characterize the types of vocalization other than meowing (VOM) in two contexts, a pleasant and an aversive situation, and to study the effect of the sex of the animal...
The behavioural assessment of individual animals in stressful situations should consider measures which are consistent across repeated testing, and therefore truly representative of an individual's behaviour. Here we report a study conducted on 40 neutered...
Pets have numerous, effective methods to communicate with their human hosts. Perhaps most conspicuous of these are distress vocalizations: in cats, the ‘miaow’ and in dogs, the ‘whine’ or ‘whimper’. We compared a sample of...
Fishes in captivity, such as those used in laboratory research, may experience handling on a regular basis. In the laboratory, handling is usually done with dip-nets, and involves pursuit, confinement and capture and removal of...
Indicators of positive emotions are still scarce and many proposed behavioural markers have proven ambiguous. Studies established a link between acoustic signals and emitter’s internal state, but few related to positive emotions and still fewer...
In the expanding salmon industry, many farmers use production methods that could result in poor welfare of the fish at various points of their lifecycle. We have reviewed methods used for producing salmon for food...
Horse handlers often encounter problem behaviour resulting from a lack of stimulus control. Handlers are often only 15% of the weight of horses, which evolved strong flight responses. Therefore, many riders and handlers resort to...
In a randomized between-subjects design, we evaluated the effectiveness of each of three non-confrontational handling interventions compared to no intervention control on the behavior of horses during a single-trial simulated mildly aversive health care scenario...
Aquatic vertebrates and cephalopods, amphibians, reptiles, and birds offer unique safety and occupational health challenges for laboratory animal personnel. This paper discusses environmental, handling, and zoonotic concerns associated with these species.
Equines perform tasks along humans, and there are evidences and controversies that they are able to discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar humans. This study assessed whether foals can discriminate between humans in terms of familiarity...
In recent decades, goose production has become more specialized and widespread, and rearing geese in plastic wire-floor pens is common in China. This type of rearing pattern is more productive than other rearing patterns since...

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