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. 
Animal welfare is important for the humane treatment of animals under our care. Zoos and rescue centres manage various charismatic animals, such as big cats, with limited resources. It is therefore essential for caretakers to...
Prompt pain management is crucial in horses; however, tools to assess pain are limited. This study aimed to develop and pilot a composite scale for pain estimation in foals. The “Foal Composite Pain Scale” (FCPS)...
The well-being of animals kept by humans in laboratories, farms, or as pets should always be of the highest importance, and a prerequisite for this is adequate housing. To assess the potential indicators for animal...
Despite the use of Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) in research, little is known about the evaluation of pain in this species. This study investigated whether the frequency of certain behaviors, a grimace scale, the treat-take-test...
Efficient and sensitive animal pain detection approaches are increasingly studied with the goal of improving animal welfare and monitoring the efficacy of treatment and rehabilitation. The aim of this study was to determine the potential...
Humans interact with fishes in many contexts including aquaculture, scientific study and companion animals. In all of these contexts, fish welfare can be compromised through anthropogenic means. Concern for fish welfare has grown considerably in...
Assessing the animal welfare state is a challenge given the subjective individual cognitive and emotional processing involved. Electroencephalography (EEG) spectrum analysis has proved an ecologically valid recording situation to assess the link between brain processes...
This 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...
Horses’ behavior can provide valuable insight into their subjective state and is thus a good indicator of welfare. However, its complexity requires objective, quantifiable, and unambiguous evidence-based assessment criteria. As healthy, stress-free horses exhibit a...
The objective assessment of chronic pain is of utmost importance for improving welfare and quality of life in horses. Freedom from disease and pain is one of the ‘five freedoms’ that are necessary for animal...
Automated recognition of human facial expressions of pain and emotions is to a certain degree a solved problem, using approaches based on computer vision and machine learning. However, the application of such methods to horses...
In order to assess the extent to which the legally prescribed training for the acquisition of animal experimentation expertise provides scientific personnel with the necessary competence and expertise to carry out a correct harm-benefit analysis...
There is an increasing focus on evidence-based welfare assessment by animal care staff in zoos, along with a strong interest in animal welfare by the zoo-visiting public, to the extent that this can influence their...
Horses undergoing veterinary care may perceive the experience to be stressful and their behavioural responses can result in injuries to people involved in their care. Being able to accurately measure the stress response in horses...
Identifying and validating behavioral indicators of mood are important for the assessment of animal welfare. Here, we investigated whether horses' eye wrinkle expression in a presumably neutral situation is a measure of mood as assessed...
Appropriate end-points are integral to the refinement of laboratory animal experiments. Our recent experience has highlighted that ambiguity around end-points is hampering their adoption in experiments that cause severe suffering to fish. In toxicology, the...
Regardless of the microbiological status of an animal facility, research animals may experience health problems, leading to pain, suffering and distress. Simple and efficient tools are needed to collect data systematically, allowing researchers to react...
Background: Pain in horses is an emergent welfare concern, and its assessment represents a challenge for equine clinicians. This study aimed at improving pain assessment in horses through a convergent validation of existing tools: we...
Horses were domesticated for more than 5000 years and have been one of the most emblematic species living alongside humans. This long-shared history would suggest that horses are well known and well understood, but scientific...
The advanced development of sensor technologies has led to the emergence of fish biosensors that are currently used for research and commercial purposes. AEFishBIT is a miniaturized biosensor attached to fish operculum that measures physical...
Whether animals have emotions was historically a long-lasting question but, today, nobody disputes that they do. However, how to assess them and how to guarantee animals their welfare have become important research topics in the...
A top priority of modern zoos is to ensure good animal welfare (AW), thus, efforts towards improving AW monitoring are increasing. Welfare assessments are performed through more traditional approaches by employing direct observations and time-consuming...
In order to promote the welfare of farm animals, there is a need to be able to recognize, register and monitor their affective states. Numerous studies show that just like humans, non-human animals are able...
Research with captive wildlife in Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL2) and 3 (ABSL3) facilities is becoming increasingly necessary as emerging and re-emerging diseases involving wildlife have increasing impacts on human, animal, and environmental health. Utilizing...
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...

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