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 conventional rearing systems, fast-growing broiler chickens commonly experience welfare issues, such as contact dermatitis, walking difficulties or a lack of expression of species-specific behaviours. Enriching their environment may be a way to improve their...
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...
Access to pasture is a main benefit of free-range broiler housing systems, yet the level of outdoor stocking density on broiler animal welfare remains unsettled. The growth, feather damage, pasture ranging and behaviors were assessed...
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...
Barren housing and high stocking densities may contribute to negative affective states in broiler chickens, reducing their welfare. We investigated the effects of environmental complexity and stocking density on broilers’ attention bias (measure of anxiety)...
Resting behaviours make up a large part of the daily time budget of broilers. However, in intensive broiler production systems disruptions of resting behaviours occur, where resting individuals get disturbed by active individuals. Such interruptions...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Leg problems are highly prevalent in modern broiler production and provision of environmental enrichment could be a strategy to improve leg health. Different types of environmental enrichment have undergone evaluation. Our objective was to conduct...
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...
Feather pecking (FP) is a multifactorial problem in all housing systems. Using a case-control design we wanted to determine a set of variables which may be decisive for a flock to become case or control...
In fiscal year 2016, agricultural animals such as swine, sheep, goats, and cattle represented 10% of the 820 812 animals used in USDA-regulated research. In addition to traditional agricultural animals, research studies using captive wildlife...
Studies investigating the welfare of commercial-line broiler chickens raised in houses with outdoor access in the tropics are scarce, and none have investigated whether responses vary according to indoor conditions. Hence, we assessed the effects...
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...
The laying hen industry is implementing aviary systems intended to improve welfare by providing hens with more space and resources to perform species-specific behaviors. To date, limited research has examined spatial requirements of various strains...
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...
Repeated injections in rats and mice are typically done via the tail vein. For hamsters, the tail is not an option. In this paper we explore the development and refinement of IV dosing in the...
Catching is the first step in the pre-slaughter chain for broiler chickens. The process may be detrimental for animal welfare due to the associated handling. The aim of this pilot study was to compare two...
The use of agricultural animals in biomedical research is increasing. Their overall size and metabolic rate, organ size, longer gestation period, and other physiological similarities make them good candidates for animal models of human disease...

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