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Animal Welfare - from Fork to Farm

  • Photo: 
    Janne Karin Brodin, NMBU

NOVA PhD course of 3 ECTS, organised by Professor Anna Valros, University of Helsinki - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (HU-V).
Course dates and location: 21-24 Nov. 2016 in Helsinki, Finland.

Course Description
The course considers animal welfare from an interdisciplinary view-point: how consumer perceptions can influence animal welfare assessment. We will learn how animal welfare can be used in voluntary industry-driven animal welfare schemes and as a part of product branding. Animal welfare, animal health and food safety are associated and this has implications for practical implementations of strategies to improve animal welfare.

The course considers different methods of animal welfare (AW) assessment on farm, how this is, or should be, reflecting consumer perceptions, how AW can be used in voluntary AW schemes and branding, and how AW is related to animal health and food safety.

Programme Outline

  • Day 1: Branding AW: assessment and assurance schemes & consumer acceptability
    • Cassandra Tucker: Corporate voluntary animal welfare schemes – the USA perspective
    • Mara Miele: Consumer perceptions
    • Participant presentations and group discussion on AW systems and branding and using AW in voluntary systems vs as bases for legislation.
  • Day 2: Different AW assessment systems: Background and practical implications
    • Harry Blokhuis: Welfare quality
    • Inger Lise Andersen: AWIN protocols
    • Björn Forkman: Danish national AW assessment project
    • participant presentations and group discussion
  • Day 3: AW, health and food safety
    • Päivi Rajala-Schultz: Interaction between animal welfare, housing conditions and animal health (cattle) and Mari Heinonen: (pigs)
    • Annamari Heikinheimo: Animal welfare and food safety
    • participant presentations
    • group discussion on interactions between animal welfare, animal health and food safety
  • Day 4: WQ seminar all day
    • course participants will take part in the Welfare quality network seminar, where different animal welfare assessment-related projects are presented

Pre-/Post-Campus Assignments
Students are asked to suggest presentations based on their own research work, of these we will select suitable ones for presentation.

Before the course, students are asked to look into at least 2 systems commercially marketed, where AW is used as a criteria for branding. Students should be prepared to present and discuss these during the course. Lecturers will provide relevant pre-reading material prior to the course.

Learning Outcomes
After the course, the participants should

  • be able to critically evaluate the conceptual background of different animal welfare assessment systems and their outcome
  • understand the principles and challenges of different AW assessment systems
  • understand the concept of branding AW, and which factors affect consumer attitudes towards animal welfare assessment
  • be able to critically estimate the interactions between animal welfare, animal health and food safety

Evaluation Elements
The course will be evaluated based on active participation in the course and the group discussions.

Pedagogical Approach
The course combines lecturing, group discussions and student presentation and is based on active student participation. In addition, students will take part in an open research seminar.

Estimated Workload

  • 12 hours seminar
  • 18 hours lecture
  • 20-40 hours independent work
  • 6 hours group discussions / workshops

Prerequisite Knowledge
The participants should have a basic knowledge of animal production and animal welfare. Students can be from any discipline (veterinary, animal science, biology, social science), as long as they are working with, or have a strong interest in animal welfare or health.

Admission for NOVA courses is handled by the course organiser/ the NOVA member institution organising the course. Please see the links in the margin for more information.

Please find more information on the course and practical information on the course website from the University of Helsinki.

Apply here

Published 26. April 2016 - 11:08 - Updated 17. August 2016 - 11:13

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