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. 

Feelings of fear, anxiety, dyspnea and panic when inhaling carbon dioxide (CO2) are variable among humans, in part due to differences in CO2 sensitivity. Rat aversion to CO2 consistently varies between individuals; this variation in...

On farms, the currently approved and most widely practised method of euthanising non-viable piglets is blunt force trauma to the head followed by exsanguination. However, the use of this method is criticised due to public...

The AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia state that, to decrease potential distress of animals, the home cage should be used for the euthanasia of mice. The current study evaluated this recommendation by comparing behavioral and physiologic...

Electrical stunning is likely to remain an important stunning method for turkeys at slaughter. The purpose of this study is to understand the application of various waveforms of alternating current (AC) and pulsed direct currents...

The aim of this review is to summarize evidence regarding rat emotional experiences during carbon dioxide (CO2) exposure. The studies reviewed show that CO2 exposure is aversive to rats, and that rats respond to CO2...

Pre-slaughter stunning is required for humane slaughter. For turkeys, head-only electrical stunning is most often used by small scale producers. To ensure immediate and effective stunning, the impedance (resistance) of the tissue of the head...

Euthanasia is a valuable management tool utilized on dairies to end the suffering of sick or debilitated cows. Euthanasia should be implemented if an animal’s pain cannot be adequately alleviated and if there is a...

Larval, or tadpole-stage Xenopus laevis frogs are a popular research model for developmental biology and disease studies. Existing euthanasia guidance documents offer recommendations for both eggs and adult stages, yet do not specifically address the...

The effects of a standard protocol for euthanasia on heart rate variability (HRV) as a consequence of stress response were analyzed in this prospective clinical study. The HRV was determined in 40 horses undergoing euthanasia...

Low atmospheric pressure stunning (LAPS) has been suggested for use in poultry under 4 kg in the abattoir as a more humane alternative to carbon dioxide (CO2). However, there are currently no studies offering a...

This study assessed aversion, stunning effectiveness, and product quality of nitrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2) mixtures used for stunning pigs. A total of 1852 slaughter pigs divided into two similar batches was assessed during routine...

The objective of this study was to describe the effect of penetrating or non-penetrating captive bolt using an occipital approach in 4–5 month old, Holstein steers weighing between 100–200 kg. Twelve calves were divided into...

Intraperitoneal (IP) injection of sodium pentobarbital (PB) is an accepted method of euthanasia for mice. However, this method has important drawbacks, including the potential for pain or misinjection. The objective of this prospective, randomized, blinded...

Guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) have been used in research since the 19th century to collect data due to their physiological similarities to humans. Today, animals perform a vital role in experiments and concerns for laboratory...

This poster describes how the Animal Technologists at Envigo adapted their current practices and procedures for a new species at their laboratory: the cotton rat. The paper describes cotton rat biology and behaviour; housing; environmental...

We conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate the association between euthanasia and compassion fatigue among employees working in animal research at a large academic medical center. In summary, animal research workers who euthanize animals reported...

Euthanasia is one of the most commonly performed procedures in biomedical research, involving tens of millions of animals in North America and Europe every year. The use of sodium pentobarbital, injected intraperitoneally, for killing rodents...

The effect of CO2 gas-stunning methods (G1: 30% CO2 15 sec, 55% CO2 40 sec, 70% CO2 45 sec; G2: 30% CO2 15 sec, 80% CO2 85 sec) on the efficacy of stunning, blood stress...

Swine mass depopulation refers to the destruction of large numbers of pigs and may include not only animals affected with a disease but also healthy pigs in a facility or surrounding areas. Emerging applications of...

Carbon dioxide and isoflurane are widely used for killing rats, yet may not truly achieve “euthanasia”, because they elicit aversion. The inhalant anesthetic desflurane is faster acting than isoflurane, representing a potential refinement. Using an...

The aim of this study was to develop and test a tilapia on-farm welfare assessment protocol, based on Brazilian semi-intensive production systems. The study included two mains steps: the elaboration of tilapia welfare protocol and...

Moral stress is a major concern in veterinary practice. Often, it is associated with the challenges in end-of-life situations. Euthanasia, however, is also meant to bring relief to animal patients and their owners. The reasons...

The optimal choice of euthanasia method for laboratory rodents depends on a number of factors, including the scientific goals of the study, the need to minimize animal pain and/or distress, applicable guidelines and laws, the...

Consciousness is central to animal welfare concerns. Its assessment is most often conducted based on behavior, with a poor understanding of the correspondence between behavior and the neurobiological processes that underlie the subjective experience of...

The swine industry is often forced to euthanize pigs in the first few weeks of life due to injuries, hernias, or unthriftiness. The majority of pigs are euthanized using carbon dioxide (CO2) gas asphyxiation but...

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