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. 

Dogs and cats have been extensively studied of late in relation to their paw preferences, with both species showing preferential motor bias at the level of the individual. Over the years, a wide range of...

Most research to enrich the environment of psittacines in captivity has focused on foraging. Little is known about the importance of bathing substrates for enrichment of their environment, despite this being a natural behaviour that...

Although triplet litters are increasing in captive colonies of common marmosets, parents can rarely rear more than two infants without human intervention. There is however much evidence that early life experience, including separation from the...

We investigated how providing chewable materials to piglets during the early weeks of life affect sow behaviour, sow and piglet interaction and sow health in pens with farrowing crates. We divided 59 pregnant sows into...

Abnormal behaviours are often used as a welfare indicator in zoo-housed great apes. While previous studies report on the occurrence of abnormal behaviours in zoo-housed chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), there is currently a lack of knowledge...

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...

Sows are highly motivated to build a nest prior to farrowing, but, given the barren environment of farrowing crates, this behaviour is limited and improperly expressed. We aimed to assess the effects of a straw...

Attention bias is a new approach to assessing animal affect that has shown promising results in several animal species. It describes a tendency to preferentially attend to emotional compared to neutral cues and is influenced...

Piglets weaned under commercial systems are greatly stressed by maternal separation, abrupt changes in the diet and mixing of litters. Intensive agonistic interactions exacerbate this challenge for piglets. We investigated effects of older conspecific presence...

This study investigated the effect of milk allowance on the suitability of behavioural and physiological responses, individually and in combination, as early disease indicators. A total of 120 heifer calves were assigned into a 5...

Monitoring the vocalizations produced by livestock in commercial facilities can be used to remotely assess the arousal, and perhaps welfare, of the animals. Domestic swine is an ideal candidate for this type of assessment as...

Assessing how cats cope with the housing and husbandry at shelters is an important part of maintaining good animal welfare. There are non-invasive methods to assess how cats cope with their environment. The aim of...

Efficient and sensitive animal pain detection approaches are increasingly studied with the goal of improving animal welfare and monitoring the efficacy of treatment and rehabilitation. The aim of this study was to determine the potential...

Dogs experience both acute and chronic stress when living in animal shelters. Current best practices recommend a variety of techniques for reducing stress such as enhanced human interactions including play or training, novel feeding strategies...

Evaluation of animal behavior provides information on health and well-being in animals. In this preliminary study, we investigated the effectiveness of an accelerometry approach to evaluate changes in health status of cattle by combining physical...

It is often stressful for cats to be placed in cages in a shelter and environmental enrichment (EE) of the caging is one mechanism for mitigating this stress. The behavioural style of 72 cats was...

The endangered Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) is currently distributed as a single wild population of 670 individuals and ∼400 captive animals globally. Although the captive lions are major hope for the species’ long-term conservation...

Although alpacas are becoming increasingly popular animals, their behaviour towards humans has received little research interest until now. The purpose of our study was to investigate, for the first time, associations between caretaker attitudes and...

Long-term, multi-institutional assessments have become a reliable tool for evaluating patterns of wounding in zoo-living primates, with results informing on best practices for species-specific care protocols and population management strategies. For western lowland gorillas (Gorilla...

The use of odors is a popular form of sensory enrichment, yet few studies have investigated the longer lasting effects of biologically relevant chemical signals like pheromones. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are unique because they...

The importance of social stability and its influence on the expression of the social behaviour repertoire in domestic animals remains poorly understood, especially for affiliative behaviours and other putative socio-positive behaviours such as social play...

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...

Environmental enrichment (EE) can increase the environmental complexity of feedlots by providing mental and physical stimulation. The objectives of the study were to 1) identify hourly patterns of feedlot steer behaviour and 2) evaluate the...

Bovine castration can be performed surgically, chemically, or immunologically and the method used can influence animal welfare. The use of facial expressions is an efficient tool to quantify pain, but there has been limited study...

Successful detection of pain in cows could circumscribe the therapeutic window for treatment before the cow's condition deteriorates further. While severe clinical cases that are characterized as painful have clear behavioral and physiological manifestations, mild...

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