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. 

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...

Severity assessment for experiments conducted with laboratory animals is still based mainly on subjective evaluations; evidence-based methods are scarce. Objective measures, amongst which determination of the concentrations of stress hormones, can be used to aid...

Regular body mass (BM) monitoring plays a key role in preventative health care of zoo animals. In some species, including African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), the process of weighing can be challenging...

Nest building and burrowing are highly motivated natural behaviors in rodents, and changes in these behaviors can serve as welfare assessment tools. In this study, we investigated: 1) the limits of agreement between 2 observers...

Several previous studies have shown that working conditions (including riding) can induce stress in horses. Riders’ actions and postures, when inappropriate, induce stress and conflict behaviours during riding and welfare impairment and negative emotional states...

The Mouse Grimace Scale (MGS) is an established method for estimating pain in mice during animal studies. Recently, an improved and standardized MGS set-up and an algorithm for automated and blinded output of images for...

The aim of this study was to assess the interobserver reliability of the measures forming the Welfare Quality® animal welfare assessment protocol for sows and piglets. The study was carried out at nine farms in...

Driven by the longer lifespans of humans, particularly in Westernised societies, and the need to know more about ‘healthy ageing’, ageing mice are being used increasingly in scientific research. Many departments and institutes involved with...

Mastitis in dairy cattle is extremely costly both in economic and welfare terms and is one of the most significant drivers of antimicrobial usage in dairy cattle. A critical step in the prevention of mastitis...

In many animal experiments scientists and local authorities define a body-weight reduction of 20% or more as severe suffering and thereby as a potential parameter for humane endpoint decisions. In this study, we evaluated distinct...

Dairy cattle are particularly susceptible to metritis, hyperketonemia (HYK), and mastitis in the weeks after calving. These high-prevalence transition diseases adversely affect animal welfare, milk production, and profitability. Our aim was to use prepartum behavior...

Eye temperature measured using infrared thermography (IRT) can be used as a non-invasive measure of autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity in cattle. The objective of this study was to evaluate if changes in eye temperature...

We explore elephant play behaviour since (a) play has been proposed to represent a potential welfare indicator; and (b) play has been associated with long-term survival in the wild. We categorised play into four types...

Pain and its alleviation are currently a highly studied issue in human health. Research on pain and response to analgesia has evolved to include the effects of genetics, heritability, and sex as important components in...

As pets are considered members of the family, their health has received widespread attention. Since pets cannot talk and complain when they feel uncomfortable, monitoring vital signs becomes very helpful in disease detection, as well...

Objective pain assessment in donkeys is of vital importance for improving welfare in a species that is considered stoic. This study presents the construction and testing of two pain scales, the Equine Utrecht University Scale...

The Mouse Grimace Scale (MGS) has been widely used for the noninvasive examination of distress/pain in mice. The aim of this study was to further improve its performance to generate repeatable, faster, blinded and reliable...

Surgical castration is a painful procedure that is routinely performed without pain relief on commercial pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) farms. Previous research has focused on quantifying piglet pain response through behaviours. However, to date, behavioural...

In order to assess the level of sheep welfare in small traditional farms as compared with farms of increased size we evaluated several animal-based parameters and applied a modified Animal Needs Index (ANI) protocol in...

As the reliance upon automated systems in the livestock industry increases, technologies need to be developed which can be incorporated into these systems to monitor animal health and welfare. Infrared thermography (IRT) is one such...

Captive welfare studies in odontocete species have been mostly conducted on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) while the welfare of many other species’ -including endangered species- remains poorly studied. More research is needed to find and...

The recognition of animal suffering is influenced by cultural and societal prejudices and the cuteness of an animal leads to bias in the way it is treated. It is important to consider the animal’s behaviour...

Intensive pig management involves in a commercial setting the housing and implementation of certain procedures, such as castration and tail docking, which may be stressful for the animal. Good farming practices include the reduction of...

Dental disorders can cause discomfort and chronic pain, affecting the athletic performance and welfare of the horses. However, dental disorders may not be manifested with recognizable clinical signs and may, therefore, lead to late diagnosis...

The present study aimed at introducing a reliable and more feasible indicator to evaluate stereotypies in sows in comparison with the ‘Welfare Quality® animal welfare assessment protocol for sows and piglets’. Therefore, the indicators for...

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