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NES3012 : Animal Welfare and Behaviour

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Catherine Douglas
  • Lecturer: Professor Lucy Asher
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module aims to enable students to critique the complex issues of animal welfare, from a scientific, ethical, policy and global perspective. The focus is on farm and companion animals, but the module provides opportunities for students to follow specific interests in zoo animals, lab animals or wildlife if they prefer. In the module the students explore the application of precision technologies in managed animals (and the underpinning research) and the module also develops an understanding of applied animal behaviour looking at case studies of problem behaviours in farm animals and companion animals.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module introduces principles of: Animal welfare and ethics, animal welfare legislation, assessing animal welfare, precision technologies for managed animals and in its use in research, applied animal behaviour, including case studies in common problem behaviours in our managed animals. We explore the
big global issues in managed animal welfare.
The module makes use of flipped lectures and seminars to maximise the opportunities for students to follow areas of personal interest. Contextual recordings, structured quizzes, research (directed and self-directed) help structure preparation so that lectures/seminars can be more interactive and discussion based. Students are expected to prepare for seminars by researching issues of particular interest to them.

The assessments are:
i) To devise and undertake an assessed welfare audit of managed animals (of your choice)
ii) A group project in science communication on a topic of your choice

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Group project work (research, meetings and presentation of final submission)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture231:0023:00lecture (including seminar type discussions)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion31:003:00short online quizzes
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Preparation for assessed practical class
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Write up of animal welfare assessment report
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading122:0024:00tasks to research (often very directed reading) to cascade back in student seminar groups
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching71:007:00in person or online student seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork24:008:00Practical welfare assessment (4hr) Precision techniques practical (4 hr)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00This is to have questions answered and formative feedback to prepare for the assessment.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study180:0080:00Preparatory reading/activities e.g. recorded content for flipped lectures, background reading, on-line tasks including optional activities; lecture follow up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Blended learning through: lectures, seminars, pre-recorded presentations; guided independent reading and activities (such as on-line quizzes, and guest lectures) form the compulsory content and provide the theoretical background. Thereafter students choose from various directed learning activities and independent study to suit their interests.

Teaching methods are a blended approach incorporating some pre-recorded instructional/lecture-type material supported with present-in-person seminars to consolidate, enhance and apply knowledge. Additionally question and answer / drop-in sessions are run present-in-person and sychronous-online. Use of zoom enhances skills development aligned with increased use of online meetings in the workplace.

An assessed practical exercise on welfare assessment allows this knowledge to be applied to real-world situations. The assessment involves a professional industry style report which allows students to integrate information from different areas of the module as well as developing skills in information acquisition and presentation.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M50A welfare assessment group report (1,500 words)
Prof skill assessmnt2M50Group task - Communicating science solutions (1,500 words equivalent)
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment1MCanvas quizzes
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The group report requires students to design, implement and critically evaluate a practical welfare assessment protocol for a farm or companion species, with commentary on legislation.

The group project ‘communicating science solutions’ develops a range of skills while deepening their learning of precision technologies and behavioural topics of interest to the students.

The Canvas quizzes provide students with an opportunity to assess their learning and engagement with resources.

Reading Lists