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Unit information: Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law: Applying the Theory in 2015/16

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Unit name Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law: Applying the Theory
Unit code VETSM0013
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Main
Open unit status Not open

Science degree. Experience of and access to animal related industries e.g farms, boarding kennels. Knowledge of the basic theory of Animal Welfare. For RCVS students will be demonstrated by completion of C-AWSEL.1 module: Introduction and Theory run by Cambridge University Co-requistes None



School/department Bristol Veterinary School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


Knowledge of the theory of Animal Welfare - will be applied in the candidate's field of work in this module. Via distance learning, with dedicated academic support, students will learn to prepare case reports, which reflect all three aspects of the subject, i.e. ethics (professional person to person ethical use and abuse of animals), welfare science and law.

Attainment of this module as well as C-AWSET.1 will provide a suitable basis for further study, as well as being a requirement for candidates studying for the designated Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (AWSEL)


The aim of the module is to enable the candidate to extend and consolidate clinical knowledge, and skills gained at undergraduate level, and that acquired in Module 1 to develop an in-depth understanding of the application of that knowledge in a practical environment in relation to Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law.

Intended learning outcomes

  • To have developed a further understanding of animal welfare science methodologies and demonstrated a deeper understanding of the principal methods used, including shortcomings and interpretation.
  • To have consolidated the knowledge of animal welfare science gained in the introductory module and applied it to bioethical issues as well as ethical decisions encountered in veterinary practice.
  • To have applied existing ethical theories and frameworks to situations involving animals in order to make better ethical decisions, or formulate ethically justifiable opinions.
  • To appreciate how statute law is formulated and applied and understand the concepts of common law and precedent. To be familiar with the lobbying, consultative and representational processes.
  • To have a familiarity with the principal animal protection laws in the UK, and demonstrated knowledge of international legislation and regulation such as EU law, GATT, WTO.

Teaching details

Students will be provided with introductory materials and instruction on the process by which to construct a case report via e-learning materials. Powerpoint-based lectures t and written notes and selected further reading. Teaching materials will be hosted on a web-based platform (Blackboard) and also made available in CD format. Students will have access to dedicated academic support via email and telephone.

Assessment Details

Candidates will submit THREE case reports (each case report should not exceed 3,500 words) which reflect the range of each case to take in all three aspects of the subject, i.e. ethics (professional person to person ethical use and abuse of animals), welfare science and law. Candidates should demonstrate sufficient competence in all three areas of Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law over the THREE case reports, although case reports which emphasise primarily one of these three aspects are permissible.

Each of the three case reports will constitute 1/3 of the total course marks.

Reading and References

  • Appleby, MC and Hughes BO. 1997. Animals Welfare CAB International. Wallingford, UK
  • Broom, DM and Johnson KG. 1993. Stress and Animal Welfare. Chapman and Hall, London.
  • Dawkins, MS. 1981. Animal Suffering: the Science of Animal Welfare. Chapman and Hall, London.
  • Radford, M. 2001. Animal Welfare Law in Britain, Oxford University Press. Oxford.
  • Tannenbaum, J. 1989. Veterinary Ethics, Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore.