Animal Ethics and Welfare
Animal Ethics and Welfare 2023-24
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).
The module begins by considering the field of welfare science, the problem of defining welfare and different methods for measuring an animals welfare.
Students are then 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. Since these questions are embedded into societal views on animal ethics, students are asked to identify an ethical 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 practical sessions 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.
- 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