Handbook Public View

This page displays current curriculum information. For staff view, please login

Unit (2020)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2020 academic year.

Animal Behaviour and Welfare (VET333)

Organisational Unit Veterinary Medicine
Credit Points 3
Availability MURDOCH: S1-internal
Teaching Timetables Murdoch S1
Description An understanding of the basic concepts of animal behaviour and welfare of domestic animals is the foundation of building veterinary clinical skills. Students will explore the ethical challenges of human-animal interactions and veterinary practice which is paramount for progression towards competency in professional skills. Practical classes include workshops providing the introduction to physical examination of birds and fish, and group activities in animal behaviour. Tutorials develop veterinary communication skills in investigating animal ethics and welfare issues from a veterinary perspective.
Unit Learning Outcomes On successful completion of the unit students should be able to demonstrate competence in the following:

1. Describe philosophical views on the human animal relationship, and identify where your own views lie
2. Explain the complexity of animal welfare issues involving the disciplines including ethics, science and law
3. Define how legislation in Australia attempts to protect and ensure the needs of animals are met.
4. Describe methods to assess animal welfare using behavioural and physiological measures
5. Describe the typical stress response and indicators of pain
6. Demonstrate the ability to compare various husbandry systems; identify welfare risks, the impact of stockperson behaviour, and transport and slaughter on livestock welfare.
7. Recognise and describe normal and abnormal behaviour of domestic animals at various life stages. This includes the ability to:
a. describe their methods of communication
b. demonstrate an understanding of learning theory
c. predict how facilities may affect an animal's behaviour
d. describe relevant environmental enrichments
8. Exhibit skills on how to communicate effectively with producers, clients, and society about factors affecting an animal's health and welfare regarding production, companion and wild animals.
9. Research and present a written review on the recent advances in animal welfare science.
10. Demonstrate ethical reasoning skills when making decisions about common issues in veterinary practice

After completion of the unit practical activities students should be able to:
11. Competently conduct a clinical examination of individual (birds and fish and perform basic diagnostic tests.
12. Describe species-specific behaviour and provide advice on facility design and environmental enrichment
13. Exhibit effective communication on ways to resolve common veterinary ethical dilemmas
Timetabled Learning Activities Lectures: 3 x 1 hours per week; Practicals/tutorials: 1 x 3 hours per week; Animal Behaviour Workshop: 2 x 3 hours per semester.
Unit Learning Experiences Learning outcomes in this unit are pursued through a variety of learning experiences, including structured lectures, and interactive small group workshops and tutorials and formal writing submissions. The written scientific review and scenario based discussion promotes the development of critical thinking and problem based learning. Topics in animal behaviour and learning theory are explored in workshops and students engage in a group learning activity including an off-campus visit to appraise the housing and/or husbandry of animals before presenting their findings to the class. Animal welfare and ethical dilemmas are discussed in interactive tutorials that are written as a problem based learning format. These tutorials allow students to develop skills in negotiating conflicts common in the practice of veterinary medicine. A formal 1000-word scientific review (essay) is required to allow the development of skills such as data retrieval, critical thinking and writing a scientific argument in a self-directed manner. Online resources and discussions are also utilised in the unit to enhance learning.
Other Learning Experiences Off campus animal behaviour field visit (one half day)
Assessment This unit is an integrated unit covering animal ethics, animal welfare science, and animal behaviour and handling. There is a range of assessment tasks including practical handling skills, oral, written, and problem solving skills.

1. 2-hour final examination - 35%
2. Project work (team-based learning) - 30%
2a: Group project on a behaviour topic
2b: Practical Animal Welfare and Ethics tutorial tasks
3. Critical scientific review of an animal welfare topic - 1000 word review - 20%
4. Practical examination in class (40 min) - 15%
Prerequisites Enrolment in BSc (Veterinary Biology)/DVM; Successful completion of ANS101 Introduction to Livestock Science.
Previously 2015: 'Animal Behaviour, Welfare and Veterinary Ethics'
Appears in these Courses/Majors:
see individual structures for context
Veterinary Science (BSc)+(DVM) [New in 2014]
Internet Access RequirementsMurdoch units normally include an online component comprising materials, discussions, lecture recordings and assessment activities. All students, regardless of their location or mode of study, need to have access to and be able to use computing devices with browsing capability and a connection to the Internet via Broadband (Cable, ADSL or Mobile) or Wireless. The Internet connection should be readily available and allow large amounts of data to be streamed or downloaded (approximately 100MB per lecture recording). Students also need to be able to enter into online discussions and submit assignments online.


Unit Coordinator
Dr Teresa Collins
Senior Lecturer in Animal Welfare and Ethics

Murdoch Campus
t: 9360 7307
e: T.Collins@murdoch.edu.au
o: 250.3.047 - Veterinary Biology, Murdoch Campus
Unit Contacts

MURDOCH: S1-Internal
Dr Teresa Collins
Senior Lecturer in Animal Welfare and Ethics

Murdoch Campus
t: 9360 7307
e: T.Collins@murdoch.edu.au
o: 250.3.047 - Veterinary Biology, Murdoch Campus
Fee Calculator
Handbook help
Information for Students


The University reserves the right to cancel, without notice, any course, major, minor or unit if the number of students enrolled falls below limits set by the University.

Regulations and Rules

Students should ensure they are familiar with the University's internal legislation, including provisions specifically relevant to their studies. See the University Regulation overview and view legislation online.