There are a number of courses available in animal welfare, behaviour and protection. These courses can be taken online, and can be completed at your own pace.
Courses in animal welfare cover topics such as the ethical treatment of animals, animal nutrition and health, animal behaviour, and animal shelters. Check out our top picks below:
Animal Viruses: Their Transmission and the Diseases
Animal Viruses is a free online biology course offered by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain. The class is taught through video lectures that are presented in Spanish with English subtitles. Lasting for six weeks, the class requires a five-hour weekly time commitment for success. Anyone who is interested in learning more about diseases that affect pets, birds, sheep, cattle, swine and horses is invited to enroll; however, some knowledge of biology is suggested to succeed in the class. The class is especially beneficial for pre-veterinary science students.
Introduction to Animal Behaviour
Introduction to Animal Behaviour is a free online biology course offered by Wageningen University in the Netherlands. The class is ideal for anyone who is interested in learning more about animals and has no previous educational or work experience requirements. Self-paced, the course can be completed in a way that best fits each student’s schedule. The instructor does recommend that the course be taken over a six-week period with students spending about four to six hours on the coursework each week. Online video lecture modules included on the syllabus are: The science of animal behaviour; Learning, cognition and development; Communication; Finding food and avoiding predators; Mating systems and parental care; and Living in groups.
Animal Feed Production: Feed Quality
Animal Feed Production: Feed Quality is an online agriculture course offered through a partnership between EIT Food and Queen’s University Belfast in the United Kingdom. The course is intended for mill managers who wish to further their education. To enroll in the class, students must pay a fee of $84. The class lasts for five weeks and involves a four-hour weekly time commitment.
Global Health at the Human-Animal-Ecosystem Interface
Global Health at the Human-Animal-Ecosystem Interface is a free online health and medicine course offered by the University of Geneva in Switzerland. A multidisciplinary course, the class examines global animal health in terms of epidemiology, social anthropology, disease ecology, veterinary sciences and global health policy. The class lasts for eight weeks and includes eight online video lecture modules. These modules are: Global Health at the Human-Animal-Ecosystem Interface: The Need for Intersectoral Approaches; Emerging Infectious Diseases; Antimicrobial Resistance & Zoonotic Foodborne Infectious Diseases; Zoonotic Neglected Infectious Diseases; Conflicts and Injuries; Innovation & Opportunities; Health Benefits at the Human-Animal-Ecosystem Interface; and Management of Ecosystems under Global Changes: Implication for Human Health. At the end of the class, students are given a final exam.
Sustainable Food Production Through Livestock Health Management
Sustainable Food Production Through Livestock Health Management is a free online environmental science course offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the United States. The class can be beneficial for anyone who is interested in sustainably and agriculture. During each week of the six-week class, students will need to spend roughly seven to nine hours watching the video lectures and completing readings and assignments. There are seven modules for students to finish: Introduction; Animals and Sustainable Food Production; Disease as a Barrier to Sustainability; Animals’ Response to Infectious Disease; Our Role in Fighting Infectious Disease; Our Role in Preventing Infectious Disease; and Infectious Disease and the World’s Food.
Dog Emotion and Cognition
Dog Emotion and Cognition is a free online science course offered by Duke University in the United States. The class is geared toward pet owners who want to learn more about their dog’s minds and emotional states. The class is taught through online video lectures and lasts for eight weeks. No previous coursework is necessary to succeed in the class, but those who have some familiarity with dogs will find the course easier to understand. Among the units included in the class are: The Paradox of a Best Friend That Evolved From Our Worst Enemy; How Biology Studies Cognitive Evolution; Dogs Are Cognitively Remarkable; Evolutionary Accidents and Survival of the Friendliest; Problems That Dogs Can and Cannot Solve; and Finding Your Dog’s Genius. A final exam is given at the end of the course.
Animal Behaviour and Welfare
Animal Behaviour and Welfare is a free online biology course offered by the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. The seven-week class can be beneficial for anyone who is interested in learning more about animals. Students should expect to spend one to three hours watching videos and completing quizzes and assignments each week. The class includes seven units: Introduction, History and Concepts of Animal Welfare?; Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Assessment; Practical Animal Welfare: Companion Animal Welfare; Practical Animal Welfare: Farm Animal Welfare; Practical Animal Welfare: Captive Wild Animal Welfare; and Emotive Animal Welfare Issues. Students will also gain access to a supplemental module on emotive animal welfare issues entitled Welfare Conundrums.
Chicken Behaviour and Welfare
Chicken Behaviour and Welfare is a free online biology course offered by the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. The five-week course can be beneficial to people who keep chickens as pets as well as for commercial egg and chicken meat producers, veterinarians and vet nurses. Each week, students will spend roughly one to three hours watching the video lectures and completing supplemental assignments and quizzes. Topics covered include: Introduction to Animal Behaviour: Domestication, Behaviour Development and Learning, The Senses; Behaviour Patterns of Chicken; What Is Chicken Welfare?; and Effects of Housing, Transport and Slaughter on Bird Welfare.
Equine Welfare and Management
Equine Welfare and Management is a free online science course offered by the University of California, Davis in the United States. The course is ideal for anyone who is interested in learning more about the care of horses, including pet owners, groomers and veterinarians. The class lasts for six weeks with students spending about one to two hours each week watching the videos that make up the course modules. Among the modules are: The Normal Horse: Basic Physiology; Maintaining Good Hydration and Nutrition; Providing Proper Care and a Safe Environment; Assess Fitness, Prevent Common Diseases and Injuries; Normal and Abnormal Equine Behaviors; and Human – Equine Interaction and Equine Welfare.
Introduction to Animal Ethics
This course was created by Kyoto University and is delivered by edX. It is taught by Tetsuji Iseda who is the university’s Associate Professor of Philosophy and History of Science. The course will take approximately 5 weeks to finish. In it you will learn the ethical issues related to human-animal relationships, and how to think about such issues systematically. Why do many of us who eat pigs condemn those who eat dogs? Is there any difference between laboratory mice and companion hamsters that justify using laboratory mice for drug tests? Our attitude toward animals is full of seemingly inconsistent ideas and unexplained practices. Animal ethics is the field that tries to make sense of human-animal relationships through philosophy, and this course is an introduction to the field. This course has several unique characteristics from other animal ethics education materials. First, this course uses case studies of animals in Japan, which makes it a good opportunity to learn something about Japanese culture. Second, it uses Manga as a study aid to think about real life situations. Topics in the course include: training and neutering of companion animals, animal experimentation for cosmetics, eating farm animals, environmental enrichment in zoos, controversies over farm and zoo animals, and philosophical debate over speciesism and animal rights. The suggested time to work on the course is 2-3 hours per week. You will be offered a verified certificate after completing the course. This course offers a verified certificate after you complete the course. The certificate is easily shareable, for example on LinkedIn.