ACE8076 : Animal Welfare Science

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module is designed to develop knowledge and understanding of the science of animal welfare and how it is applied to ensure the ethical management and training of domestic and captive animals. The module introduces students to the key concepts in animal welfare science, explores how these can be used to assess the welfare status of domestic and captive animals, and used to develop interventions in management and training to promote their welfare. The module emphasises the critical application of research knowledge to practical situations, and develops students’ skills in evaluation and promotion of the welfare of animals in captive environments. This module matches the ASAB Accreditation Committee academic requirements for animal welfare science and may be studied as a stand-alone module for CPD.

Outline Of Syllabus

The course will cover the following topics:
-Animal welfare science: physical, psychological, and naturalness concepts; including stress, suffering, coping strategies, environmental predictability and control.
-Physiological and behavioural indicators of welfare in vertebrate animals including stereotypes.
-Methods of assessing welfare, motivation and demand.
-Effects of artificial selection on welfare.
-Welfare considerations in animal management.
-Welfare issues in animal management, training and in animal behaviour clinical practice.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Preparation for Portfolio
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion145:0045:00Preparation for Case Study
Guided Independent StudySkills practice28:0016:00Field Work Carried Out Independently
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching42:008:00Residential School
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Telephone tutorial support for distance learning
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

At masters level the emphasis is on guided self-study and supported learning. During the residential school at the beginning of the module, lectures will be used to introduce the main concepts in the field (knowledge outcomes 1, 2) and small group teaching will begin exploring how these are applied to assessment of welfare (knowledge outcomes 3, 4). Guided private study and students' own fieldwork throughout the distance learning weeks of the module will be supported by email and telephone tutor contact and will develop depth of knowledge outcomes 1, 2 and their application to the evaluation of animal welfare (knowledge outcomes 3, 4 and skills outcomes 1, 2).

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1M30Portfolio - 1000 words
Case study1M70Case study - 2500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Knowledge outcomes 1, 2, 3, will be assessed through a portfolio of research into concepts and methodology; knowledge outcome 4 and skills outcome 2 will be assessed through a case study that on the welfare of domestic/captive animals selected to reflect the student’s area of interest. Skills outcome 1 will be assessed by the accuracy of interpretation of the behavioural and physiological states evident in the animals studies in the case study assignment.

All assessment components must be passed at 50% to meet professional validation requirements. Failed assignments normally have one resubmission opportunity. Where the original overall module mark is a pass, the module mark will not be raised after successful resubmission of any failed assignment(s). Where the original overall module mark is a fail, the module mark will be capped at 50% after successful resubmission of the failed assignment(s).

Reading Lists