1. Handbook
  2. Subjects
  3. Animal Welfare and Ethics

Animal Welfare and Ethics (ANSC30005)

Undergraduate level 3Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

You’re viewing the 2019 Handbook:
Or view archived Handbooks


Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 3
Subject codeANSC30005
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Previously BIOL30010

This subject develops knowledge and understanding of systems for regulating body function, and physiological and behavioural processes that are utilised by animals in response to environmental challenges. This basis will allow students to evaluate and assess animal welfare and ethical issues that confront livestock production and amenity use of animals in society. The subject will also develop knowledge in adaptation, preference testing, cognition, and short and long-term biological responses.

Specific topics covered include;

  • The current debate about animal usage and animal welfare
  • Systems regulating the body (homeostasis, motivation and control systems, and development of regulatory systems)
  • Limits to adaptation (stimulation, tolerance and coping, variation in adaptation)
  • Stress and welfare (Selye’s concept of stress and refinements to the concept, coping and fitness, definition of welfare and its assessment)
  • Assessing welfare using short-term and long-term biological responses
  • Assessing welfare using preference testing
  • Assessing welfare by studying cognitive skills
  • Ethical problems concerning welfare
  • Welfare issues in agriculture and the general community; and codes of practice for the welfare of livestock and welfare solutions

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of the course, students should have a sound and broad understanding of the systems regulating body function and the behavioural and physiological responses utilised by animals in responding to environmental change. From this theoretical base, students should develop an appreciation of the scientific approaches available to assess animal welfare. Furthermore, students should understand the concepts of animal welfare and be aware of the main welfare issues confronting domestic animals.

Generic skills

On completion of the subject the students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Academic excellence
  • Greater in-depth understanding of scientific disciplines of animal behaviour and its application to the humane care and efficient management of farm and companion animals

The student’s flexibility and level of transferable skills should be enhanced through:

  • Improved time management
  • Enhanced ability to communicate their ideas effectively in both written and verbal formats

Last updated: 10 August 2019