Ethics of Animal Welfare
The aim of this Ethics of Animal Welfare course is to make you aware of the ethical dimensions of dealing with animal and animal welfare issues. During this course, you will learn about ethical questions specific to dealing with animals, scientific and moral concepts of animal welfare, societal frames, the differences between "animal rights" and "animal welfare" approaches, ethical tools that can be useful in addressing practical ethical questions, and practical dilemmas.
An obese dog, stranded whales or a lame cow.
These are just a few examples of the many situations in which animal welfare plays a central role. There is a clear increase of public attention for animal welfare. Both traditional and social media pay a lot of attention to animals and their welfare, and people often have clear views on what they think to be good or bad for an animal. This attention to animal welfare is not limited to the level of personal views and opinions or restricted to the Western world only. Animal welfare is on the public agenda.
This position of animal welfare implies that those who are professionally involved with animals should not only be able to discuss and assess animal welfare in empirical terms, but should also be able to address its ethical dimension. This ethical dimension shows that animal welfare is special: it is not about facts and figures only, but is intrinsically related to values and ethical principles. Science can answer questions of “what is”, but to ultimately answer questions concerning animal welfare one must also deliberate and answer questions about “what ought to be” and what is desirable.
Veterinarians, as well as scientists, managers and policymakers working in the field of animal welfare, care or management, will therefore find this interdisciplinary course highly useful. It offers knowledge and tools that will enable you to deal with ethical questions on both a theoretical and a practical level. The course provides room to choose your own case study to apply the course materials to a field or theme that is most relevant to you.
- Introduction to applied ethics
- Ethical questions specific to our dealings with animals
- Animal welfare between science and society
Relating scientific concepts of animal welfare to moral and societal frameworks.
- Animal welfare in context
This part will address whether the difference in context is relevant for animal welfare considerations.
- Beyond animal welfare
In this part, the origins of animal rights approaches are discussed and we will focus on how rights and welfare are related.
- How to apply ethics: tools and frameworks
Ethical tools that can be useful in addressing practical ethical questions.
By the end of this animal welfare ethics course, you will be able to:
- Understand the ethical dimensions of dealing with animal (welfare) issues in your professional life
- Use the knowledge and tools you have gained to deal with ethical questions both on a theoretical and a practical level
To successfully complete this course, you need to actively participate in the discussion forums and complete the learning unit assignments, including:
- Individual and group assignments
- Peer feedback
- Final assignment: submitting a paper (max. 3500 words). The submission deadline will be announced as soon as possible. You are allowed to redo the final assignment once.
Requirements & Material
To enroll in this course, you need:
- Sufficient proficiency in English reading and writing
- Access to an internet connection
- A BSc degree in a relevant field
This course is offered by
About the School
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