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. 

This literature review was aimed at analyzing whether stallion husbandry in groups is possible and desirable or poses risks. This was determined on the basis of different studies in order to be able to give...

Every animal species has particular environmental requirements that are essential for its welfare, and when these so-called “basic needs” are not fulfilled, the animals suffer. The basic needs of horses have been claimed to be...

To curb agonistic interactions in a bachelor group of three male capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), a single dose of leuprolide acetate (Lupron®) was used in an attempt to chemically sterilize the males. Concurrently, fecal androgen metabolite...

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...

The white-crowned pigeon, Patagioenas leucocephala, is a species of bird not often used in research. This may be related to its anxiety during normal human interactions, such as with cage changing. Our institution acquired a...

Group-living animals vary in social behavior across multiple dimensions, including in the selectivity of social interactions with familiar versus unfamiliar peers. Standardized behavioral tests can be used to tease apart different dimensions of behavior. These...

Horses kept for meat production are reared in intensive breeding farms. We employed a checklist adapted from the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) assessment protocol. Our evaluation aims to assess whether welfare indicators are influenced by...

Studies on the etiology of behavioral problems often involve interference in the animal's routine or reliance on owners' self-reports like surveys. Gathering data from videos posted on social media, a technique coined ‘video mining’, offers...

Humans have shared a long history with horses and today we mainly consider horses as companions for sports and leisure activities. Previously, the human perspective of the human-horse relationship has been investigated but there has...

Our social relationships determine our health and well-being. In rodent models, there is now strong support for the rewarding properties of aggressive or assertive behaviors to be critical for the expression and development of adaptive...

Horses reared for meat production can be kept in intensive breeding farms where they are housed in group pens at high stocking densities. The present study aimed to evaluate whether the expressed behaviours correlated with...

We compared welfare measures of horses among Swedish riding schools (RS) during winter where horses were kept either in group housing (n = 8) or in tie-stalls/boxes (n = 8), Health data for six previous...

This open access book is a printed edition of the Special Issue on Welfare of Cultured and Experimental Fishes that was published in the journal Fishes. The PDF is free for download.

Horses are mainly housed in individual boxes. This housing system is reported to be highly detrimental with regard to welfare and could trigger the expression of four behavioural indicators of a compromised welfare state: stereotypies...

Group housing provides horses with social contact, a lack of which is associated with health and behavior problems. Despite the benefits of group housing for horses, horse owners are concerned about aggression and resulting injuries...

Timing of reward is very important when training horses. Incorrect timing can lead to confusion and deleterious behaviors and learning will be impaired. Clicker training can be used as an important tool in training. However...

A prevalent, traditional approach to horse-training is based on the belief that human dominance and leadership over horses is required to gain their respect and compliance. However, this denies the horses’ complex social organisation and...

Body language is important for communication between individuals. Body language is based on the fact that the thought, alone of performing a known action will activate the motor neurons used for the action, resulting in...

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...

The aim of this study was to conduct a series of paper-based exercises in order to assess the negative (adverse) welfare impacts, if any, of common interventions on domestic horses across a broad range of...

Strong social support can negate negative health outcomes – an effect defined as ‘social buffering’. In the present study, using the socially monogamous prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster), we examined whether the presence of a bonded...

Food motivation may influence an animal’s performance in food-rewarded learning tasks. Nevertheless, food is often used as a positive reinforcer in learning tasks to investigate cognitive abilities of farm animals, and to test effects of...

Transmission of fear and attenuation of fear within groups of farm animals remain relatively unexplored, despite the importance for human and animal safety. This paper reports the results of two separate experiments, aiming to explore...

Although Syrian hamsters are thought to be naturally solitary, recent evidence from our laboratory demonstrates that hamsters may actually prefer social contact. Hamsters increase their preference for a location associated with an agonistic encounter regardless...

The presence of a social partner may significantly contribute to coping with stressful events, whereas dyadic separation generally increases glucocorticoid levels and, thereby, might also affect immune function and health. To study the covariation between...

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