Animal Ethics and Welfare
Animal Ethics and Welfare 2022-23
School Of Natural Sciences
Module - Semester 2
This module considers both moral and scientific arguments for how humans treat animals in a range of contexts (e.g. keeping of animals in captivity, use of animals in science).
Students are introduced to key questions in ethics, such as whether death is a harm and whether any animals are due moral consideration. Utilitarian, contractarian, rights-based views and environmental and relational arguments are contrasted in a range of scenarios to consider how best to resolve ethical dilemmas such as whether animals are kept in captivity.
The module then considers the field of welfare science, the problem of defining welfare and different methods for measuring an animals welfare.
Since much of the module content (about how we treat animals) is widely discussed in society, students are asked to identify an ethical or welfare dilemma and write an engaging article aimed at a popular audience.
The final part of the module considers ethical review of scientific experiments (facilitated by workshop sessions or field visits discussing captive animals and experimentation with scientists, zoo researchers or technicians, as appropriate). Using the frame-work of the 3R's and ethical theories presented previously, students will be asked to suggest improvements to experimental design and evaluate the study from several different ethical viewpoints.
-threshold -D Awareness of the fundamentals underlying welfare science and ethics, based on lecture material and practical sessions, but with limited or absent analytical ability and communication skills.
-good -B - A good grasp of the fundamentals and demonstration of critical thought with evidence of additional reading. An ability to present a coherent argument with clarity and engage a variety of audiences. A good appreciation of the main approaches employed in the study of animal welfare and ethics and the ability to critically assess their suitability in a given situation.
-excellent -A - An excellent grasp of the fundamentals of the science and demonstration of the ability to analyse, critically assess, and present a coherent reasoned argument based on information from a variety of sources, with an excellent ability to engage a variety of audiences. Demonstration of original thinking and advanced problem solving when evaluating and implementing research methods and ethically reviewing studies.
- Collaborate with others, to develop interpersonal and teamwork skills
- Communicate, using a variety of formats to a lay-person audience.
- Critically review scientific experiments involving the use of animals and apply understanding of the 3R’s (Replace, Reduce, Refine) to suggest improvements
- Debate the key issues in the ethics of use of animals for human benefit
Article aimed at public audience