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. 
Increased environmental complexity can improve animal welfare, depending on the resources provided and use by the animal. We provided chickens either with physical items that posed no biosecurity risk and were inexpensive (balls, chains, perches...
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...
Owners may enhance their cats’ welfare by social enrichment (e.g. positive human-animal interactions), and physical enrichment (e.g. play objects). The purpose of this study was to investigate associations between owner characteristics (e.g. attitudes, attachment), household...
Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) is a rare mammal appearing in South and Southeast Asia, first described in 1777. Because of the detrimental effects of stress, studying stress responses is important for this wildlife conservation...
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...
Reading books to shelter animals combining auditory enrichment with human presence is increasingly used although its effects on animal welfare have not yet been investigated. This study compared the behaviour of single-housed shelter dogs and...
In conclusion, the investigations carried out up to now demonstrate that during the early stages fish show high sensitivity to many types of stressors involving an array of responses to overcome alterations that could affect...
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...
Research to assess the relationship between cats and humans is in a nascent stage. Some studies have assessed the stress status in cats using physiological indicators, such as the cortisol hormone, but have not focused...
Preference testing has long been used in ethology and animal welfare science to assess the preferences that animals have for different resources and stimuli. The study conducted herein assessed the choice-making ability of five leopard...
Recent research has uncovered many complex cognitive traits and affective processes in many reptile species, such as the ability to make choices that are rewarding or pleasurable. The investigation herein was initiated after many years...
This study into the behaviour of domestic cats (Feliscatus) aimed to assess the relationship between behavioural expressions obtained via the Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) and quantitative outcomes of temperament tests. Four behavioural tests were used...
Visual communication involves specific signals. These include the different positions of mobile body elements. We analyzed visual configurations in cats that involve ears and the tail. We aimed at deciphering which features of these configurations...
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...
Animal personality, the consistent between-individual differences in e.g., risk-taking, exploration, antipredator or mating behaviours, has major impacts on the fitness of individuals in many species. Understanding how to quantify animal personality should help us predicting...
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...
The regulations for minimal space and direction of travel for land transport in horses vary worldwide and there is currently no definitive guidance to promote equine health and welfare. This study evaluated the effects of...
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...
The serval (Leptailurus serval) is a small African felid that is well represented in zoos and often serves as an animal ambassador in encounter programs with zoo visitors. The impact on serval welfare in relation...
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...
Domestic animals are sensitive to human cues that facilitate inter-specific communication, including cues to emotional state. The eyes are important in signalling emotions, with the act of narrowing the eyes appearing to be associated with...
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...
Examining the literature suggests equine personality is of interest to behavior and welfare scientists and those involved in the equine industry. Study and assessment of personality is critical because of the profound implications certain traits...
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...
Recent studies demonstrated that cats form social bonds with both conspecifics and humans. One of the key factors regulating social interactions is the transfer of emotions between the individuals. The present study aimed at investigating...

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