Advanced Animal Behaviour and Welfare Sci (VETS8044)


Advanced Animal Behaviour and Welfare Science builds on the understanding of animal form and operation that students have developed in prior Units. In Advanced Animal Behaviour and Welfare Science, the behavioural and physiological responses of mammals, birds and fish to stressors related to husbandry, housing, transport, slaughter, training and performance are explored in some detail. This Unit enables students to develop a three-dimensional appreciation of the responses of animals to common interventions that arise in the context of interacting with humans, including the domestication of livestock species and the management of wildlife. The principles of animal responses to stress are illustrated with production species as the main examples.
Contemporary approaches to the scientific measurement of animal stress and welfare, based on an appropriate selection of scientific disciplines including ethology, psychology, physiology and neuroscience, are assessed with an emphasis on livestock species. Genetic, environmental and evolutionary determinants of pain, stress and fear responses in animals are considered in the light of what is known about cognition and motivation in animals. Methods for assessing and enhancing animal environments and husbandry systems are examined and the impact on animal welfare of stockmanship is explored in the context of human-animal interactions. Finally, the design and conduct of scientific experiments are assessed with a focus on animal ethics and current welfare issues.
Advanced Animal Behaviour and Welfare Science includes a compulsory library-based assignment that provides students with an opportunity to select one species on which they report a summary of scientific advances that may contribute to animal welfare.
Other assessment tasks involve the preparation of written or oral reports of the practical class activities

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Classes: 6 hrs/wk (including lectures, demonstrations, discussions and practical activities); classes will be held at the Camden campus


Scientific essay (30%); oral presentations (15%); practical reports based on class activities (55%).


The recommended textbook for the animal structure component of the unit is:
Broom, DM & Fraser, AF 2007, Domestic animal behaviour and welfare, 4th edition, CAB International, Cambridge Uni Press, Cambridge
Other core texts are:
Ekesbo I 2011, Farm Animal Behaviour. Characteristics for Assessment of Health and Welfare. CABI ISBN 978 1 84593 770 6
Grandin, T (ed.) 2000, Livestock handling and transport, 2nd edn, CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK
Gregory, NG 1998, Meat science and animal welfare, CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK
Hemsworth, PH & Coleman, GJ 1998, Human-livestock interactions: the stockperson and the productivity and welfare of intensively farmed animals, CAB International, Wallingford, UK
Monamy, V 1996, Animal experimentation: a student guide to balancing the issues, Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching, Glen Osmond, Australia
Gregory, NG The physiology and behaviour of animal suffering, UFAW, Blackwell Scientific, Oxon
A course handbook containing details of lecture outlines, objectives, reference lists, details of practical classes, staffing as well as other relevant class material will be available for students

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


AVBS1002 or equivalent



Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.