Animal Legislation and Societal Issues BIOL5127

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Biodiversity One Health Vet Med
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will give the student an evidence-based understanding of the relevant legislation around using animals in different contexts such as in scientific research, at zoos or on farms.


Eleven hours of lectures and 4 hours of tutorials.

Requirements of Entry

A second class Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Professional experience may be taken into account.

English language

If your first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level. See English Language Requirements

Excluded Courses



BIOL5126 Key Research Skills (Semester 1)

BIOL5115 Animal Welfare Science (Semester 1) and BIOL 5114 Animal Ethics (Semester 2) for specialisation in Animal Welfare Science


Students will explore a problem-based scenario about how human society interacts with a species of their choice. Writing for an academic audience, they will prepare a position paper (2000 words) in which they will critically reflect on legislative, scientific and ethical aspects relevant to the chosen case, and reach a conclusion in which they justify their own position on the case. This will comprise 75% of the mark. The remaining 25% will be based on a press release or blog written for the general public in which students will make a justified argument for the conclusion they reached in the position paper.

Course Aims

The aim of the course is to provide students with a rigorous evidence-based understanding of key features of relevant legislation and societal issues regulating the use of animals in various contexts. Students will also explore relevant legislation on a specific issue relating to animal use in a country of their choice (ideally their home country).

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ critically discuss, with respect to the primary literature, legislation concerning keeping animals in captivity in the UK

■ demonstrate a basic understanding of the UK legislative frameworks protecting animals in different contexts

■ critically discuss how societal influences affect public attitudes towards human uses of animals, especially with respect to controversial issues

■ critically discuss how legislation is underpinned by ethical principles and current research in animal welfare science

■ show a critical awareness of how changes in UK legislation come about and how to communicate with the general public on animal welfare issues

■ select an appropriate writing style for an academic or lay audience.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits