Animal welfare and supply chain products (milk and meat)

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Veterinary Physiology
Second semester
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Lectures are in Italian. Textbooks in English are available.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

The student will be able to
-identify the direct indicators for the assessment of animal welfare and relate them to the type of management and housing structures in a context of intensive production
- identify the crucial aspects that can determine the influence of animal welfare on production


Knowledge of the regulatory bases of the apparatuses and systems connected with the management of animal welfare (digestive system, muscle tissue, mammary gland)

Course contents summary

The focus of the course is to provide knowledge on understanding the concept of animal welfare in farm animals, on applied ethology relating to the perceptions of the confined animal. At the end of the course the student knows how the activation of the physiological cascade in response to a stressful event in farm animals affects the state of well-being and their production; knows how the perceptions of animals (the points of view of animals through the senses) can affect the state of well-being

Course contents

Stress physiology pathway : hormonal and nervous regulation
Animal welfare and its impact on farm animals and their productions
Animal’s perspective: applied ethology in pills (cattle, pig and poultry)
Animal-based welfare indicators
Innovative methods to evaluate animal welfare

Recommended readings

Slides used for the lectures are available in the platform Elly.
Additional material provided by the lecturer is made available on Elly.
Suggested text-books
Sjaastad O., Hove K., Sand O.: Physiology of Domestic Animals. Scandinavian Veterinary Press.
Houpt K.A. Domestic Animal Behaviour for Veterinarians and Animal Scientists, Blackwell Publishing
Judith K. Blackshaw: Notes on some topics in Applied Animal Behaviour

Teaching methods

The course is managed with frontal lectures, with slides to illustrate the concepts. Occasionally material from the international literature, in English, is illustrated. Distance learning (full or blended) will be considered based on health risks

Assessment methods and criteria

The final exam consists of an oral test. The final grade is defined for 50% by an exposition of a scientific article presented during the examination and the remaining 50% is defined by an oral assessment of a topic covered by the theoretical course