Assessment of animal welfare

Subject description

Major themes discussed within the course:

– animal behaviour (detecting, transferring and analysing stimuli from the external environment, physiological parameters of behaviour, ethogram – species-specific behaviour…)

– animal needs and the most frequent factors disabling animals to satisfy their needs

– consequences for animals not being able to satisfy their needs and to cope with external environment stimuli (changes in species-specific behaviour, appearance of abnormal behaviours, stress physiology, chronic and acute stress…)

– importance and definitions of animal welfare

– parameters and methods to assess animal welfare (preference tests, motivational tests, animal welfare assessment protocols, recording of abnormal behaviours, affective states, physiological parameters, mortality, morbidity, production parameters…), their characteristics, advantages and disadvantages

– the most common problems related to animal welfare and possible solutions.

The subject is taught in programs

Objectives and competences

The student will gain knowledge necessary for understanding of:

– causes and consequences if animals are not able to satisfy their needs

– suitability of individual parameters and methods for assessing animal welfare

the most common problems related to animal welfare in animals under the care of people (farm, companion, laboratory animals, animals in institutions…) and possible solutions

Teaching and learning methods



Seminar or project work

Expected study results

Knowledge and understanding:

On the basis of gained knowledge the student will be qualified to:

– identify possible animal welfare issues in animals under the care of people

– critically assess animal welfare

search for and identify possible scientifically-based practical solutions for improvement of animal welfare

Basic sources and literature

  • Fraser D. 2008. Understanding animal welfare: the science in its cultural context. Oxford,
  • Wiley-Blackwell: 336 str., ISBN 978-1-4051-3695-2
  • Ekesbo I. (ur) 2011. Farm animal behaviour: characteristics for assessment of health and welfare. Wallingford, CAB International: 237 str., ISBN 978-1-84593-770-6
  • Blokhuis H.J., Miele M., Veissier I., Jones B (ur.) 2013. Improving farm animal welfare: science and society working together: the Welfare Quality approach. Wageningen, Wageningen Academic Publishers: 232 str, ISBN 978-90-8686-216-0
  • Grandin T. (ur.) 2010. Improving animal welfare: a practical approach. Wallingford, CAB International: 328 str., ISBN 978-1-84593-541-2
  • Aland A., Banhazi T. (ur.) 2013. Livestock housing: modern management to ensure optimal health and welfare of farm animals. Wageningen, Wageningen Academic Publishers: 491 str., ISBN 978-90-8686-217-7
  • Broom D. M., Fraser A. F. (ur.) 2015. Domestic animal behaviour and welfare. Wallingford, Boston, CABI: 462 str.
  • revijalni članki s področja, tekoča periodika, druga učna gradiva…

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