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. 

To assess the welfare of captive animals, validated measures, so-called ‘welfare indicators’, are required. We used a triangulation approach to investigate the extent to which different measures converged to provide corroborating evidence of welfare. Laying...

There is increasing recognition that farm animal welfare standards should ensure positive welfare, as well as prevent negative welfare. Resources that are valued by an animal and that provide opportunities to engage in motivated behaviours...

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...

Feather pecking remains a serious problem in poultry farming. This study aimed to identify risk factors for plumage damage as a proxy for feather pecking, and the predictive value of practical animal-based parameters. Data were...

Tricaine, or MS-222, is the most commonly used chemical anesthetic in zebrafish research. It is thought to act via blocking voltage-gated sodium channels, though its mechanism of action, particularly at the neuronal level, is not...

Group level measures of welfare flocks have been criticized on the grounds that they give only average measures and overlook the welfare of individual animals. However, we here show that the group-level optical flow patterns...

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...

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...

Animal welfare is one of the most challenging issues in modern farm animal husbandry. Animal welfare indicators can be used to monitor welfare on farms or at slaughterhouses, with footpad dermatitis (FPD) being one of...

This study aimed to determine the prevalence of keel bone deviations and feather damage of laying hens in two different free-range housing systems under commercial conditions. Both of the free-range systems had an indoor barn...

Zebrafish are frequently used as a means to investigate development. These studies increasingly require repeated anaesthesia of zebrafish during juvenile (i.e. metamorphic) stages. The effects of anaesthesia during this time remain poorly studied. The aim...

Gait defects, assessed as gait score (GS), is a common welfare problem in broiler chicken production. The aim of this study was to examine whether birds with GS2 experience pain and poor locomotor ability compared...

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...

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...

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...

The teleost zebrafish (Danio rerio), an established model for human skeletal diseases, is reared under controlled conditions with defined parameters for temperature and photoperiod. Studies aimed at defining the proper rearing density have been performed...

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...

Fractures and deviations to the keel bone are common in commercial laying hens, with reported variations in occurrence across strains and breeds. The aetiology is not fully understood, however, modern genetics and selection for efficient...

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)...

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...

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...

Teleost fish such as Danio rerio (zebrafish) have been successfully used in biomedical research since decades. Genetically altered fish lines obtained by state-of-the-art genetic technologies are serving as well-known model organisms. In Europe, following Directive...

The zebrafish is becoming an increasingly popular research animal around the world. Its welfare is affected by an array of environmental factors, such as food access and water quality. Holding density is an important welfare...

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