Postgraduate taught 

Quantitative Methods in Biodiversity, Conservation & Epidemiology MSc

Animal Legislation and Societal Issues BIOL5127

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: Biodiversity Animal Health Comp Med
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

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


Seven hours of lectures, spread over the entire Semester; 8 hours of tutorials, spread over the entire Semester.

Excluded Courses



Key research skills (Semester 1)

Animal ethics (Semester 1) for specialisation in Animal Welfare Science

Welfare Science (Semester 2)


Students will write a position paper essay (2000 words) on a chosen case study about an issue of animal use; the position paper should critically reflect on legislative, scientific and ethical aspects relevant to the chosen case, and come up with a clear conclusion on the student's position on the chosen case. This will comprise 50% of the mark. The remaining 50% will be based on a press release describing their views and rationale in their position paper to the general public.

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 explore relevant legislation on a specific animal use issue of 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 and demonstrate a basic understanding of the UK legislative frameworks protecting animals in different contexts

■ Key legislation relating to animal welfare in laboratory and zoo environments

■ How societal influences affect discussion and public attitudes towards different forms of human use of animals, especially with respect to controversial issues

■ How legislation is underpinned by ethical principles and results of current research in welfare science.

■ Have a critical awareness how new policies are made and how the policy making process as well as the public may be influenced.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits