A 5-week interactive online course
Topic 1: Understanding the law of animal welfare
The law is the rulebook that everyone handling animals is required to adhere to – be they farmers, animal transport operators, veterinarians, or researchers. Our understanding of legal definitions regarding animals is essential to ensure professional credibility – regardless of your field of expertise. Despite this, many people don’t know the legal definition of animal welfare – thinking it has to do with the “five freedoms of animals”, or “not being cruel to animals”, or even ensuring animals are “happy”.
In this topic, you’ll learn what the law defines as animal welfare, and what it means to critically assess almost any use of animals by people. Not only will you have a better understanding of what is meant by key relevant legal terms that relate to animals, but this topic will also help you in providing objective and authoritative perspectives to animal welfare issues – and THAT helps you maintain your credibility.
Topic 2: How to manage your liability for animal welfare
It’s one thing to know what animal welfare law means. It’s equally important to know what responsibilities attach to any dealing involving an animal’s well-being. It’s the rulebook for people’s obligations – and not knowing the rulebook would be like driving a vehicle on a road without knowing the road rules. Surprisingly, there are people, including professionals, who work without knowing their obligations on a regular basis. Anyone who’s activities involve animals – on a farm, in a research laboratory, in a transporter, or in a veterinary clinic must comply with the applicable rules and good risk management involves being able to prove that compliance. By the end of this topic, you’ll understand the rules of animal welfare responsibility, and have a list of practical easy to apply tools that show you’ve complied with those rules.
Topic 3: Animal welfare obligations and expectations
Animal welfare obligations exist wherever animals and humans co-exist – be it in the production animal sphere, research, pet care, right through to the provision of veterinary care. So while everyone has an legal obligation not to treat animals cruelly, people, who are owners or in charge of animals also have a legal obligation to provide for the animal’s needs. As a potential person in charge, do you know how the law defines “cruelty” or someone “in charge” of an animal? What are the “needs” of animals? And given that legal obligations are attached to legal penalties for getting it wrong, what are those “penalties”? By the end of this topic you’ll be familiar not just what the law requires in terms of people/professionals/organizations in fulfilling their legal responsibilities, but you’ll have an understanding of how the law balances and prioritises the interests of animals, and the different opinions of people – you included.
Topic 4: Animal welfare and the international stage
In todays’ global environment, with free trade, and massive increases in human and animal transfer across borders, animal welfare standards in one country or region cannot be considered in isolation. This topic deals with the critical issues of cross-border welfare legislation, and the impact this has on animal welfare – including subjects such as live export, disease transmission, and vastly different attitudes regarding animals that exist in the global market place.
Topic 5: The Future of Animal Welfare Law
This suite of topics has dealt with the evolution of the human-animal relationship from its early beginnings, through to how the foundational attitudes are still evident in animal welfare law – so it’s appropriate that the final module looks at the future of animal welfare law. Rights, dignity, guardianship, and sentience – these are all words and concepts being used by people/organizations involved in the subject of animal protection, but do you know what those words and concepts mean? Can you speak authoritatively about them, or is yours just another personal opinion at debates and discussions? Since the law is society’s rulebook and underpins all your legal obligations, can you see what impact these future initiatives may have on you and your livelihood/business/interests? This topic will give you the ability to confidently discuss the future of animal welfare in any forum.