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. 

Previous studies have demonstrated that dairy cattle prefer pasture over indoor conditions especially at nighttime, which suggests they perceive pasture as an attractive place to rest. Indeed, cows avoid and spend less time lying on...

Exposure to environmental factors such as high temperatures and solar radiation levels present a welfare concern for many domestic equids. Understanding how these factors influence the shelter use of healthy equids can inform welfare guidelines...

Convergent evidence in literature shows that rapid disruption of maternal care and breastfeeding due to an early weaning protocol changes the development of several neurobehavioral patterns in rodents, including the circadian pattern of feeding. The...

In this article, we review cats' feeding behaviors, and discuss ways of feeding cats that promote physical and mental/behavioral health, while providing cats with choices that allow expression of preferences. We address the management of...

Ruminants evolved in diverse landscapes of which they utilized, by choice, a diverse arrangement of plants (grasses, forbs, and trees) for food. These plants provide them with both primary (carbohydrates, protein, etc.) and secondary (phenolics...

Chickens cannot independently thermoregulate at hatch and lack opportunity to behaviorally thermoregulate with a hen in the egg layer industry, thus barns are heated to thermoneutral temperatures. Dark brooders are low-energy-consuming hot plates, which may...

Broodstock rearing conditions and handling procedures should be optimized in aquaculture species in order to benefit fish welfare and guarantee optimal conditions for spawning. In teleosts, basal cortisol levels display daily rhythms, oscillating along the...

Due to its increasing pressure on dairy cows, studies that investigate how to cope with heat stress are needed. The heat stress affects multiple aspects of cows’ lives, among which their behavior and welfare. In...

Cats living without any outdoor access have to use litter boxes to eliminate. A lack of cleanliness is one of the main reasons for which cat owners consult their veterinarian. What has been identified as...

Chickens under appropriate light–dark programs can develop diurnal rhythms. However, actual needs of layer pullets for the light and dark environments are not fully understood. This study was to investigate the diurnal rhythms of pullets...

Maintaining the hooves of swine in research is vital to their health and welfare. Ideal flooring provides stable footing and a surface for wearing down the hooves. Otherwise, injuries can occur, or repeated anesthesia may...

In the wild, excreta soiled surroundings can attract predators and spread disease. Yet, farmers rear broiler chicks in large barns with stocking densities that prevent excreta segregation. To measure chicks’ motivation to access unsoiled bedding...

Plasma lipid and glucose levels are important parameters for evaluating the onset and development of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. In clinical and experimental studies of humans or mice, fasting is often required before testing plasma...

Mechanical brushes allow cows to groom. Mange is common in indoor-housed cattle, and this affliction may affect cow motivation to use a mechanical brush. The aim of this study was to assess changes in dairy...

During the evolution of the horse, an extended period of feed intake, spread over the entire 24-h period, determined the horses’ behaviour and physiology. Horses will not interrupt their feed intake for more than 4...

Due to the lack of L-cones in the rodent retina, it is generally assumed that red light is invisible to rodents. Thus, red lights and red filter foils are widely used in rodent husbandry and...

Restrictively fed broiler breeders are known to have increased motivation to explore and reduced fearfulness because hunger increases the motivation to search for and to acquire food, forcing the birds to face and engage with...

Pasture access for dairy cows is highly valued both by cows and the public at large. When pasture access is not feasible, farmers can provide cows with alternative forms of outdoor access, such as an...

This review paper is a synthesis of results from multiple studies that we have conducted over the past several years using similar methodologies to identify factors related to welfare of captive populations of elephants in...

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...

Broiler breeders are feed-restricted during rearing to avoid the negative consequences of obesity during lay due to their genetic potential for fast growth rate. Feed restriction leads to chronic hunger, frustration and lack of satiety...

Most farrowing facilities in the United States use stalls and heat lamps to improve sow and piglet productivity. This study investigated these factors by comparing production outcomes for three different farrowing stall layouts (traditional, expanded...

Natural light with ultraviolet spectrum (UV) influences the birds´ perception, the reflectivity of their plumage and affects bird behavior. Therefore, in Germany, laying hens kept in barns should be provided with daylight inlets. Nevertheless, lighting...

This article provides recommendations for the care of laboratory zebrafish (Danio rerio) as part of the further implementation of Annex A to the European Convention on the protection of vertebrate animals used for experimental and...

The bedding materials used in dairy cow housing systems are extremely important for animal welfare and performance. A wide range of materials can be used as bedding for dairy cattle, but their physical properties must...

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