Animal Welfare and Ethics

Subject DASC30015 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Twenty-four hours lectures, up to 12 hours tutorials and 12 hours practicals to be undertaken at Parkville and off-site.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours.


A physiology subject at 200 level such as:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Recommended Background Knowledge:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 2
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Jean-Loup Rault



Subject Overview:

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
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.

  • A 1500-word written presentation due mid-semester worth 35%
  • A five minute oral presentation due last week of semester worth 15%
  • A two-hour end-of-semester examination which may include essay and short-answer sections worth 50%
Prescribed Texts:

Animal Welfare (2011). M. C. Appleby, J. A. Mench, I. A. S. Olsson and B. O. Hughes. CAB International, Oxon UK.

An Introduction to Animal Behaviour. A Manning and M S Dawkins Cambridge University Press, 2012 or 1993 editions.

Understanding animal welfare: the science in its cultural context (2008). D Fraser. UFAW animal welfare series. Wiley-Blackwell.

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:

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 though improved time management and enhanced ability to communicate their ideas effectively in both written and verbal formats.


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

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Agricultural Economics
Animal Disease Biotechnology (specialisation of Animal Health and Disease major)
Animal Science and Management
Plant and Soil Science
Production Animal Health
Production Animal Science
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.
Selective subjects for B-BMED

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