ANSC30130 Principles of Animal Health, Behaviour and Welfare

Academic Year 2021/2022

This is an undergraduate course designed for students who have basic knowledge of Animal Science.
The course consists of three components, namely animal health, behaviour and welfare that influence production/reproduction in farm and companion animals.
The behaviour section deals with observation and analysis of behaviour, innate and learned behaviour; behaviour development; the effect of domestication/intensification on behaviour; ingestive, social, agonistic, sexual, parturient and maternal behaviour.
The welfare section is designed to give an understanding of the concepts of animal welfare and deals with legislation, historical perspective, ethical considerations, the five freedoms, stress and pain, welfare of farm animals and laboratory animals.
The health section discusses some of the major diseases and health issues that affect farm animals in Ireland such as neonatal mortality, respiratory disease of the bovine, lameness in cattle and sheep. Emerging diseases and new developments in health management are also covered.

* Please note, coursework for this module requires that students spend time observing a group of animals, constructing an ethogram and writing up a report on their findings. Typically students observe animals on their home farms or visit a farm of a relation or aquaintance. International students may observe a group of animals in Dublin Zoo (all costs including travel to and from the zoo and zoo entrance fee are payable by the student and are non-refundable).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
Explain/understand the different forms of animal behaviour.
Evaluate management decisions that influence/modify behaviour.
Explain the concepts of animal welfare and evaluate the welfare implications of various systems of animal production.
Contribute to the welfare debate on agricultural issues.
Apply the principles of disease control and prevention in practical situations and evaluate the economic implications of disease for animal production enterprises.

On successful completion of the Ethogram Report, students will have learned how to design an animal behaviour study, construct an ethogram, statistically analyse the resulting data and report their findings in a scientific manner.

Indicative Module Content:

Principles of Animal Health, Behaviour & Welfare

• Animal Health Introduction
• Animal Health in Ireland
• How to Raise Healthy Calves
• Lameness in sheep
• Sheep Health & Introduction to sheep preventive medicine
• Understanding infectious disease & disease investigation
• Farming today vaccine paper
• Disease in Livestock-A Practitioner's Perspective
• Metabolic diseases of the Transition Dairy Cow

• Ethology, ethograms and observation
• Behaviour and stockmanship
• Social behaviour and communication
• Abnormal behaviour, stereotypic behaviour
• Hierarchy; agonistic, avoidance, sexual behaviour
• Feeding behaviour, grazing, eating, drinking
• Foetal behaviour
• Neonatal and maternal behaviour, parturient behaviour, mother-offspring communication
• Behaviour and animal development
• Behavioural development / learned vs innate

• Concepts of Animal Welfare
• Pig welfare
• Dairy Cow Welfare
• Equine Welfare
• Companion animal welfare
• Introduction to Animal Ethics
• Introduction to Learning Theory and Behaviour Modification Techniques
• EU legislation for Farm animal slaughter
• EU legislation for Farm animal transport

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module utilises a blend of teaching and learning approaches:
The content of the module is delivered as either face to face lectures or as eLectures.
Students also undertake self directed active/task-based learning in the execution of their mandatory projects.
Projects may include critical writing; case-based learning; experimental design, data analysis and reflective writing. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
VNUR10270 - Principles of Animal Behaviour

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Project: Self Directed Project:
A) Construct an Ethogram describing observed behaviour
B) Carryout a welfare audit of a livestock farm or animal shelter
C) Prepare a case study report on a disease outbreak
Week 11 n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire: Matched set and multiple choice questions on all Health, Behaviour and Welfare topics covered in the course. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be delivered through different approaches such as oral in out of class meetings in person or over the phone, or written by email. An assessment rubric is available for the project.

Domestic Animal Behaviour and Welfare: Donald M. Broom,Andrew Ferguson Fraser - 2007
Domestic Animal Behavior for Veterinarians and Animal Scientists: Katherine A. Houpt - 2011
Name Role
Professor Alison Hanlon Lecturer / Co-Lecturer