Animal Welfare and Conservation 4 VETSCI4023

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Biodiversity One Health Vet Med
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course is designed to give students an understanding of animal welfare, animal ethics and concepts of conservation. The course will use a range of teaching methods and field exercises to explore welfare issues and conservation and will allow students to reflect on ethical questions relating to biodiversity and the different human uses of animals.


Weekly lectures, tutorials and seminars; several field trips/excursions throughout Semester

Requirements of Entry

Students must have attained the minimum requirements for entry into level 4 of the Veterinary Biosciences [Hons]/MSci Programme as specified in the Veterinary Biosciences [Hons]/MSci Programme Supplementary Regulations.

Excluded Courses



In course assessment: individual essay (30%), field logbook (30%)


End of course assessment: exam comprising questions which may include the following types: MCQ, SAQ, SEQ, DIQ (40%).

Main Assessment In: December

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims


The aims of this course are:

■ To facilitate an understanding of the aims, approaches and limitations of welfare research.

■ To introduce the concepts of biodiversity loss, describe the current issues surrounding threats to wildlife populations and increase awareness of the role of zoos and wildlife parks.

■ To provide students with tools to recognise and reflect on ethical questions relating to the different human uses of animals.

■ To increase awareness of the legislative framework protecting animal welfare in different contexts.

■ To explore practical conservation strategies and the use of new technology to help solve applied wildlife conservation problems.

■ To provide practice in ethical reasoning and informed discussion of ethical issues relating to animal welfare and biodiversity.

■ To facilitate an appreciation of and respect for the validity of different ethical arguments relating to animals

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

Discuss welfare research strategies and the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches

Evaluate the causes of biodiversity loss and species extinction in the context of the current evidence base

Critically evaluate distinct ethical frameworks

Demonstrate knowledge of welfare issues, citing associated legislation, relating to different forms of animal use

Reflect on relevant practical skills gained though field exercises

Synthesise a critical review of welfare research in relation to a suitable topic, and defend an ethical


Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of course summative assessment.