From UBC Wiki

Syllabus for Animal Welfare and the Ethics of Animal Use (APBI 315)  


We are conducting the class on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) people whose culture includes a distinctive understanding of animals that has been passed from one generation to the next on the site now occupied by UBC.  


The class meets on Tuesday and Thursday, 14:00-15:20 in MacMillan Bldg., room 160.  Because the course is strongly based on discussion and exchange of ideas, regular attendance is highly recommended.  

From mid-March until the end of the term, the course will be conducted over Zoom

Learning objectives  

To gain an awareness of scientific research designed to understand and improve animal welfare (recognizing pain and distress, understanding animals’ environmental preferences, etc.);  

  • to develop skill in finding and critically evaluating information, including the scientific literature, as a basis for problem solving;
  • to develop communication skills through presenting material to the class and by discussing issues with others whose views may be different from their own;
  • to gain exposure to philosophical positions on animal use (rights-based views, utilitarian views, etc.) and the diversity of ethical views of the relation between humans and other species;
  • to gain exposure to many practical issues involving animal welfare and ethics that arise in agriculture, wildlife management, animal research, and use of companion animals;
  • to gain awareness of the diversity of factors (values, knowledge, technology, regulation and economics) that enter into decisions about animal use.

Learning activities  

The course relies heavily on “discussion-based learning”. Most classes involve exercises and discussions that are based on readings that must be done before the class. A high level of attendance and participation is crucial for success. Little material is presented in lecture format, and this is intended to help consolidate learning that happens through reading, discussion and exercises. Lecture material will not typically be posted on-line; factual recall of lecture material is not an objective of the course.  



Daniel Weary (he, him, his), Room 189 MacMillan, 604-822-3954,  

Elizabeth Russell (she, her, hers), Room 190A MacMillan (T, Th),  

Contacting instructors  

We like teaching this course and don’t want to put limits on when you can contact us. Normally we would say to drop in when it is convenient for you. In this day in age, we recommend reaching out via email first, then we can arrange a time to meet up. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch.  



Evaluation emphasizes comprehension of concepts, critical thinking, independent research and effective communication, as evidenced by an oral presentation of a current event, 3 written assignments, in-class discussion, a term paper, and an oral or electronic presentation of the term paper research to the class.