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. 
Millions of amphibians are traded annually around the world for the exotic pet industry. Their experience during both trade, and in captivity as pets, leads to numerous animal welfare issues. The poor welfare of many...
It is widely acknowledged that environmental enrichment can improve animals’ welfare and emotional state. This study used cognitive bias and response to a novel object to assess the effect of enriched housing on emotional state...
Cautery disbudding is a painful procedure performed on goat kids to prevent horn growth that may result in brain injury. Thermal damage to the cerebral cortex of the brain and subsequent neurologic disease is a...
Castration has been demonstrated to cause pain in sheep. However, it is routinely performed for management purposes. Electroencephalography (EEG) has been used successfully to measure pain in lambs in response to castration and other husbandry...
Pain causes behavioral, autonomic, and neuroendocrine changes and is a common cause of animal welfare compromise in farm animals. Current societal and ethical concerns demand better agricultural practices and improved welfare for food animals. These...
In a 2018 AALAS webinar on Sheep and Goat Analgesia, Dr. Susie Vogel, a small ruminant expert, introduced the concept of getting sheep and goats to willingly take medication by putting it in a tasty...
Docking the tail of lambs is a standard husbandry procedure and is achieved through several techniques including clamps, hot or cold knives and latex rings, the last of which is the most popular. All tail...
Livestock animals are sentient beings with cognitive and emotional capacities and their brain development, similar to humans and other animal species, is affected by their surrounding environmental conditions. Current intensive production systems, through the restrictions...
Goat kids are frequently disbudded in intensively farmed units to reduce the number of accidental injuries to other animals and farm workers due to horn growth. The most commonly used method is thermal disbudding which...
The use of local anesthesia at the time of ring castration and tail docking can improve lamb welfare. However, few local anesthetics are registered for sheep, and data on their duration of effect is limited...
Nowadays, most of the goat milk production in developed countries is done in intensive indoors production systems. In these systems, procedures such as disbudding are performed routinely. Disbudding is done in young goat kids and...
Animals are likely to appraise events as positive or negative based on their subjective perception, current state and past experiences. We tested the effects of anticipating positive (food anticipation), negative (inaccessible food) and neutral (clicker...
Faecal soiling is one of the welfare indicators in the AWIN welfare assessment protocol for sheep (Ovis aries) and is measured by dag scores. Studies on dag scoring for ewes with docked and undocked tails...
Australian sheep routinely undergo painful surgical husbandry procedures without anaesthesia or analgesia. Electroencephalography (EEG) has been shown to be a successful measure of pain in livestock under a general anaesthetic. The aim of this study...
Limited scientific literature is available for developing 'best practices' guidelines for the management of dairy goats (Caprus hircus), particularly goat kids. Disbudding practices for kids and calves appear to be similar, however, it is important...
We evaluated the effect of pain mitigation strategies (isoflurane and meloxicam) on the behaviour and physiology of 3-week-old disbudded goat kids. Fifty Saanen does (mean ± SD, 21 ± 3 days old) were randomly allocated...
Cautery disbudding of goat kids causes thermal burns and tissue destruction, which results in acute and post-operative pain and negatively affects animal welfare. The objectives of this study were to evaluate acute cortisol concentrations and...
This study investigates for the first time the application of Qualitative Behavioural Assessment (QBA) to the analysis of acute pain expression in castrated lambs. Eighty 2-day-old male lambs were allocated to one of 4 groups...
We examined several procedures for surgical tail docking; with and without general anaesthesia (GA), including the use of a topical wound gel formulation to provide pain relief (PR) and improve healing after surgery, containing local...
In this preliminary study, we compared changes in mechanical nociceptive thresholds (MNT) of calves and goat kids injected with clove oil or isoeugenol under the horn bud as a potential, more welfare-friendly alternative to hot-iron...
The identification and assessment of pain in sheep under field conditions are important, but, due to their stoic nature, are fraught with many challenges. In Australia, various husbandry procedures that are documented to cause pain...
This study aimed to determine if tail-docking induces long-term hyperalgesia, chronic pain and histopathological changes in tail stumps of tail-docked lambs. Fifty male lambs of 45 days of age were randomly allocated in two groups...
We searched a selection of the scientific literature to document evidence for, and explorations into reptile sentience. The intention of this review was to highlight; (1) to what extent reptile capability for emotions have been...
The assessment of personality in farm animals and its relation to other behavioural and physiological traits is of growing scientific and practical interest. Therefore, the aims of the present study were first to assess the...

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