Animals in Society

Subject 208-108 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Thirty-six hours of lectures and 24 hours of tutorials and practical work
Total Time Commitment: -
Prerequisites: -
Corequisites: -
Recommended Background Knowledge: -
Non Allowed Subjects: -
Core Participation Requirements: -


Prof Paul Hamilton Hemsworth


Subject Overview: This course is designed to encourage students to begin to think about how and why animals are so integral to human society. We will investigate the human-animal relationships, where they originated, during domestication, and where they are now. We will examine in detail some key relationships between humans and animals, including animals as pets, in agriculture, as research subjects, in educational roles and as pests. We will discuss the changing attitudes of humans towards animals throughout time and talk about humankind’s moral and ethical obligation to animal wellbeing. Within this discussion we will introduce animal welfare science and discuss some of the current animal welfare issues in livestock industries around the world. Finally, we will look to the future and where the relationship between humans and animals may be headed.
  • Appreciate the physical, social and psychological interdependence that exists between humans and nonhuman animals;
  • Comprehend the complexity of debate concerning the costs and benefits to humans and animals of having animals embedded within our societies;
  • Be familiar with the historical, social, economic, cultural, biological and moral contexts within which our current relationships with non-human animals have developed and are maintained.

  • 1000 word research essay (20%) due end week 10;
  • 750 word excursion report (15%) due end week 5;
  • 4 x 12 question multiple choice quizzes (conducted on LMS) – 2.5% each (total 10%) weeks 3,6,9 and 11;
  • Media Journal (collection of 10 articles presented with 2-3 sentence summaries and a classification) (5%) Due end of week 12;
  • 3 hour end of semester examination (50%).
Prescribed Texts: -
Recommended Texts:
  • Careful How You Hold Me: An Insight into Caring for Laboratory Animals (L R Scott), MUP Multimedia Program
  • Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (NH&MRC)
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Upon completion of the course students should be skilled at using the knowledge acquired in the course to objectively and critically evaluate current issues involving animals in society – including issues with wild animals, recreational animals, animals used for science and medicine, agricultural animals and companion animals.


This subject involves the use of animals. Students should be aware that this is an essential part of the course and exemption from this is not possible.

Download PDF version.