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New MOOC on Animal Welfare and Behaviour

Animal welfare is often an emotive subject provoking heated debates and sometimes radical action.

Team picture
Jill MacKay, Hayley Walters, Natalie Waran, Heather Bacon, and Fritha Langford (L to R) and dogs Stewart, Muthie and Matthilda (L to R)

However it is also a challenging science based subject that involves consideration of animal emotions and how we can best understand the world from the perspective of a different species.

Through a free online course, animal behaviour and welfare experts from the Jeanne Marchig International Animal Welfare Centre at the University of Edinburgh, will provide knowledge and understanding about the application of animal behaviour and the science of animal welfare. This will ensure that viewers are better equipped to argue for or against a specific issue relating to animal care, management or use, using a rigorous, evidence based approach.

During the course of the 5 week period, viewers will be provided with a real world view of animal welfare and the work of the animal welfare researcher, as well as interactive sessions and discussion on topics ranging from; why animal welfare matters from a global perspective, how science can help to advance animal welfare, why animal feelings are central to animal welfare, to the truth about dogs and cats, the ethics and welfare of keeping animals in zoos and how we can deal with farm animal welfare problems.

Animal welfare often means different things to different people, and opinions are varied and debates often heated. But if we are to achieve higher standards of animal welfare worldwide, we need to be able to rely on more than our emotional response. We need to provide scientifically validated evidence that will help persuade those with competing agendas and from different parts of the world where animals and their needs are less well recognised, that animal welfare matters, not just to animals but also for human wellbeing. Providing credible and accessible animal welfare education such as this free online course, will help to provide knowledge and understanding that can be used to more convincingly argue for animals, the important role they play in many aspects of our lives and the importance of ensuring that their welfare needs are met’

Professor Nat WaranDirector Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education

Behind the scenes video diary

Learn about the making of the MOOC with our video diary.

The Coursera Partnership

These Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are being delivered via the Coursera partnership - a network of leading international universities which offer short undergraduate-level online courses free of charge.

If you are interested in the School's MOOCs, more information can be found on the Coursera website where you can also sign up for the courses.

Further Information

The course goes live on Monday 14th July 2014 and its free to sign up. Join the conversation about animal welfare, follow on Twitter and use the hashtag #EdAniWelf