The University of Guelph offers formal training in animal welfare via graduate studies and a variety of undergraduate courses. Some courses offer content that is exclusively behaviour and welfare related, some include components of the topic, while others offer students the flexibility to explore a topic of their choosing. The Campbell Centre has compiled a list of of undergraduate level, veterinary, and graduate level courses.
At the graduate level, students have the option of completing a thesis-based M.Sc. or Ph.D. specializing in animal welfare. A course-based M.Sc. in animal welfare is being offered for the first time beginning in September of 2008. Graduate students entering the animal welfare program typically have a background in animal science, animal biology, zoology, psychology, or veterinary medicine. For more information, please see this information sheet, or see the Department of Animal and Poultry Science Website.
Interested in applying? Minimum requirements for admission to graduate studies at the University of Guelph can be found on the Graduate Program Services Webpage. If interested in a thesis-based program, you are strongly advised to contact the faculty member whose work most closely aligns with your interests to learn if they are at capacity.
Please see the Available Graduate Student Positions.
While majoring in animal welfare is not an option at the undergraduate level, interested undergraduate students are encouraged to take courses that emphasize animal welfare. Students interested in pursuing original research have the option of taking an independent study course during their last year of study. These include Research in Animal Biology – (ANSC*4700 & 4710), or Research Projects in Agriculture (AGR*4450 & AGR*4460), wherein students complete a major paper on a specific animal welfare topic. Both courses provide excellent research experience prior to undertaking graduate studies in animal welfare.
Opportunities for undergraduates also include working on research projects through the work-study or summer student program, and participating in outreach, seminars and discussion groups by joining the CCSAW Student Chapter. Valuable experience can also be gained by representing the University of Guelph at the annual Animal Welfare Judging Competition held at Michigan State University. More more information on any of these opportunities, please contact us.
ANSC*3210 Principles of Farm Animal Care and Welfare
Students will be introduced to the main theoretical concepts of bioethics as related to contemporary animal agriculture. They will be familiarized with the history of the animal welfare movement, including its effect on producers and consumers of animal products. The course will emphasize the techniques of assessment of animal well-being and review legal requirements and voluntarily accepted codes for sound animal care and safe animal handling.
Also available as a Distance Education course (ANSC*3210DE). Anyone who is not a U of G student can register for this course by visiting www.open.uoguelph.ca and clicking on "search course offerings" (use keywords "animal welfare" in your search). U of G students can register for this course through regular registration procedures using WebAdvisor.
ANSC*4090 Applied Animal Behaviour
The team-taught course deals with why farm animals behave as they do with reference to causation, function, ontogeny and phylogeny. Basic principles are illustrated by examples taken from agricultural, lab, companion and zoo species. Ways in which animal keeping systems may be improved by applying behavioural knowledge are discussed, and strategies for designing animal facilities and management procedures to suit the behaviour of the animals are also considered.
ANSC*4100 Applied Environmental Physiology & Animal Housing
This is a fourth year undergraduate course that addresses how various aspects of the physical environment affect an animal's biology. It covers basic concepts of stress physiology, thermoregulation and energy balance and how animals respond to light. We discuss how these concepts apply to animal housing and management in a variety of animal-keeping systems, with an emphasis on agricultural species. Other aspects of the physical environment, such as air quality, space allowance, equipment design and flooring that impact on animal health and well-being are also covered.
ANSC*4350 Experiments in Animal Biology
This is a team-taught fourth year undergraduate course that provides an opportunity for hands-on projects involving live animals and laboratory techniques using pigs and poultry. Group projects involve developing hypotheses, designing an experiment to test those hypotheses and collecting data on behaviour and physiology. Students collect samples, validate and run hormone assays, then summarize and interpret their results in the format of a scientific article. This course requires pre- or co-requisites of environmental physiology (ANSC 4100) and applied endocrinology (ANSC4490). Approval of the ABIO Faculty Advisor must be obtained before course selection.
ANSC*4700 & 4710 Research in Animal Biology
AGR*4450 & 4460 Research Projects in Agriculture
These independent study courses are designed to encourage senior undergraduates to conduct research in Agriculture and Animal Biology. They involve participating in meetings organized by the coordinator, working with a faculty advisor to develop a research project, formulating hypotheses, designing and carrying out experiments to test the hypotheses. Students carry out independent library research, complete experimental work, prepare a written report and make presentations of the research plan and final results
UNIV*1200 Animal Welfare: Does it matter?
This interdisciplinary course will examine animal welfare from a variety of viewpoints. It will involve considerations of science, the philosophy of science, and ethical theory. It will consider questions like: How can animal welfare be defined? Is it possible to study animal welfare scientifically? Can we know what animals feel? Do animals have moral standing? Do we have obligations towards animals? Does any of this matter?
ZOO*4070 Animal Behaviour
An introduction to the theories and principles of the behaviour of animals. The course will be a comparative study of learning, socialization, social interaction, and other components of animal behaviour.
ZOO*4390 Environmental Physiology
A study of the influence of environmental factors on metabolic and regulatory mechanisms in animals, and of adaptational strategies for survival in different environments. How animals adapt to high pressure, low oxygen, high salinity and other environmental factors will be discussed.
PHIL*2030 Philosophy of Medicine
An examination of philosophical and ethical issues that arise in human and veterinary medicine, including such topics as the definitions of disease and health, the status of medicine as a science, the role of values in medical research and medical practice, the doctor-patient relationship, psychiatry and the control of human behaviour, and the ethics of genetic counselling.
PHIL*4040 Advanced Philosophy of the Environment
This course is an exploration in detail of central debates in environmental philosophy. Possible topics include: genetic modification of plants and animals, duties to future generations, obligations to distant global others, the ethics of encounters, animal welfare, trans-species communication, restoration and conservation projects, aesthetics, virtue ethics and stewardship.
PSYC*3430 Topics in Animal Learning and Cognition
The study of current research in animal cognition, emphasizing such topics as numerical, spatial and logical competence, conceptual abilities, and memory. Seminar presentation and discussion will assume a basic knowledge of operant and Pavlovian conditioning as taught in PSYC*2330.
PSYC*2330 Principles of Learning
An introduction to the basic principles and concepts of classical and instrumental conditioning paradigms of learning, via lectures, demonstrations and student projects. Some student projects may involve laboratory practice on animal conditioning. (C)
PSYC*1100 Principles of Behaviour
Experimental methods for the study of behaviour. The physiological basis of behaviour, sensory processes and perception. Motivation, learning and memory. (Also offered through distance education format.)
AGR*Agri-food Systems Trends and Issues
The course will improve the awareness and increase the critical appreciation and understanding of students for the breadth and complexity of the agriculture and food system from producer to consumer. Students will understand the ways in which consumers empower the various components of the food system. Students will gain experience in understanding major issues and consumer trends in the food system including those related to environment, food safety, and animal welfare. The role of the Canadian food system in world markets will be presented. Students will be introduced to the basic skills of problem-solving, report preparation, and delivery.
AGR*2350 Animal Production Systems and Industry
This course is designed to give students an overview of animal production systems and will consist of lectures dealing with major farm livestock species. Laboratories correlate with lectures and involve field trips, video and computer analyses of production alternatives.
AGR*4450 Research Project in Agriculture I
Independent study of a current topic in Agriculture designed to encourage senior undergraduates to conduct research in Agriculture. The course includes participation in meetings organized by the coordinator, work with a faculty advisor to develop a research project, formulate hypotheses, design and carry out preliminary experiments to test the hypotheses. Students will carry out independent library research, begin experimental work, prepare a written report and make a presentation to other students in the course of the research plan and preliminary results. Students must make arrangements with both the faculty supervisor and the course coordinator at least one semester before starting the course. Open to students in semesters 6, 7, and 8 of the B.SC. (Agr.) degree program. This course will normally be followed by AGR*4460 to provide 2 semesters to complete the research project.
AGR*4460 Research Project in Agriculture II
Independent study of a current topic in Agriculture designed to encourage senior undergraduates to conduct research in Agriculture. The focus of this course will be the completion of the research plan developed in AGR*4450 by the student in consultation with a faculty advisor. The course includes participation in meetings organized by the coordinator and meetings with a faculty advisor to review research progress. Students will carry out independent research, prepare a written report of the research findings in a scholarly style and make a presentation to other students in the course of the research results. Open to students in semesters 7 and 8 of the B.SC. (Agr.) degree program.
Phil*2070 Environmental Philosophy
This course offers a sustained, critical examination of one of the major sub-areas of 'environmental philosophy': the 'nature' and the ethico-political status of non-human animals, compared and contrasted with the 'nature' and ethico-political status of human animals. Students study how this philosophical distinction figures in practical arguments about which duties we might have to particular sorts of non-human creatures in which particular contexts (scientific research, farms, meat, household pets, hunting, key species in ecosystems). An overall aim of this course is to provoke a deeper understanding of our own animality and how we react and respond to it..via our 'survey' of a broad field of interactions and practices involving not only animals and how we treat them and use them in our contemporary cultural practices.
VETM*3400 Health Management I
Health management is the promotion of health and prevention of disease in animals within the economic/business framework of the animal owner/industry, while recognizing the issues of animal welfare, human safety and environmental impact. In this course students are presented with an integrated approach to the disciplines of medicine, epidemiology, ethology, public health and animal husbandry. Students develop skills in finding and critically appraising information, problem solving, and calculating and interpreting quantitative measures. This mandatory course is based on the DVM 2000 Professional Competencies of Canadian Veterinarians.
VETM*3410 Health Management II
This course is a continuation of the Phase 1 course Health Management I. Previously presented concepts are explored in greater depth and complexity and new material addresses three main themes: epidemiologic principles in clinical decision making, applied ethology and public health. Emphasis is placed on relevant epidemiological tools for understanding disease causation, evidence based medicine and critical appraisal of the literature, surveillance and outbreak investigation. The public health section focuses on regulatory matters, food safety and zoonotic disease issues. Problems associated with animal behaviour and welfare are presented in a species/industry context.
VETM*3480 Special Topics: Animal Welfare Science
This elective comprises readings and discussions of animal welfare theory, and how these concepts may be applied to issues of veterinary medicine and animal care. Students participate in weekly seminars, involving discussions and background readings. Students develop skills in analysing and communicating concepts of animal welfare.
VETM*4850 Clinical Rotation Elective: Animal Welfare
Animal industries, policy makers and animal protection organizations indicate strong needs for professionals with expertise in animal welfare. Students explore animal welfare issues commonly confronting veterinary practitioners, the role of veterinarians in animal cruelty investigations, and techniques to assess animal welfare in individuals and in animal populations.
ANSC*6100 Special Projects: the scientific assessment of animal welfare
In this graduate course, students explore the biology and validity of the various behavioural and physiological techniques used in welfare assessment: in particular,. sympathetic activation, HPA functioning, stereotypic behaviour, and preference responses. For each topic, there will be a lecture by the instuctor, followed the next week by a discussion of 3-4 key papers, and rounded off in a third week by student presentaions of examples where the measure in question seemed to yield a valid index of welfare, and examples where it did not.
ANSC*6440 Advanced Critical Analysis in Applied Ethology
An in-depth review of classic papers and current topics in applied ethology. Discussions will include applications of methodologies and analyses used to conduct animal behaviour research.
ANSC*6700 Animals in Society: Historical and Global Perspectives on Animal Welfare
This graduate level course will review and discuss society’s relationship with animals. It will explore how animals are affected by the ways that human beings keep them, use them, and conflict with them. The main ethical theories that deal with humanity’s duties to animals will be introduced, traced through history, and their strengths and weakness discussed. The relationship of science to ethics will be considered and the importance of being able to justify a moral point of view will be emphasized. Various scientific approaches to animal welfare will be described and the crucial importance of sentience in these approaches will be discussed. The acceptance of sentience in animals through history will be considered and the problems associated with assessing subjective feelings will be discussed. Society’s attitudes to animals in Canada will be compared to elsewhere and cultural differences will be considered. Society’s willingness to pay for improved welfare will be discussed. The inadequacies of Canadian laws to protect animal welfare will be discussed. Finally, a variety of contemporary welfare problems will be described arising from the use of animals in agriculture, biomedical science, product testing, as service and working animals, and as animals in entertainment and sport and possible solutions will be explored.
ANSC*6710 – Assessing Animal Welfare in Practice
This graduate level course explores the underlying concepts and steps in developing animal care auditing/assessment schemes for industry and regulatory bodies. Lectures include an overview of assessment tools, and how the goals of the assessment (i.e., accreditation versus self-assessment) influence its structure. The advantages and disadvantages of using engineering versus animal-based standards will also be addressed. Various forms of assessment schemes such as indices, scores and questionnaires will be compared. Students will explore the validity, repeatability, feasibility of different measures in the field and will utilize knowledge of animal welfare assessment in the development of novel assessment schemes.
Also available as a Distance Education course (ANSC*6710DE). Anyone who is not a U of G student can register for this course by visiting www.open.uoguelph.ca and clicking on "search course offerings" (use keywords "animal welfare" in your search). U of G students can register for this course through regular registration procedures using WebAdvisor.
UNIV*6030 Seminars and Analysis in Animal Behaviour and Welfare
This seminar-based course offers an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion
of broad topics in animal welfare and human-animal relationships. Students
analyze topics presented by visiting guest lecturers using perspectives from
various disciplines such as animal science, philosophy, history, psychology,
ethics, and biology.
POPM*6950: Special Topics in Population Medicine: Applied Animal Welfare
In this course, students develop a basic understanding of the ethical and scientific foundations of animal welfare, and knowledge about a variety of contemporary animal welfare issues. Students explore a contemporary animal welfare issue of their choice, reviewing scientific literature pertaining to the topic and how the issue may be addressed through policy, market forces or other mechanisms. Students develop skills to critique scientific manuscripts and to communicate concepts of animal welfare in oral and written formats.
For further information, visit www.uoguelph.ca/academics/
The University of Guelph third-year undergraduate course “Principles of Animal Care and Welfare” is now available during the Winter Semester as a Distance Education course. This course was given the inaugural award by the Humane Society of the United States as being the best course in North America dealing with Animals and Society. The course involves presentations, discussions, debates, role-playing exercises, and simulated field assessments of welfare. It is designed to foster the ability of students to understand the principles of animal care and welfare, appreciate the relationship of ethics to science, justify a moral point of view, interpret and critically evaluate the literature on animal welfare, be sensitive to other people’s values and views, make objective judgments on animal welfare, be creative in solving welfare problems, and present views on animal welfare in a well-structured and convincingly-argued way, through written papers. Since 90% of animals used by humankind are farm animals, some knowledge of animal production practices is a prerequisite.
The course is open to anyone interested, but approval to take the course must be granted through the Office of Open Learning at the University of Guelph.
Learn to Make a Difference in the Life of a Horse
With the Equine Welfare Certificate
The Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare is excited to announce their collaboration with the Centre for Open Learning and Educational Support, and Equine Guelph, in order to bring you the new Equine Welfare Certificate. Offered as an extension of the award-winning Equine Science Certificate, the Equine Welfare Certificate will provide students with the opportunity to explore animal welfare issues in the horse industry....More.