Animal Welfare, Ethics and Policy Selectives

A variety of selectives are offered to first and second year DVM students, which engage them in a deeper exploration of animal issues that they may encounter in their communities or in veterinary practice.  Many are offered jointly as electives for the Masters in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) and Masters in Conservation Medicine (MCM) programs, which broadens the ranges of perspectives of class participants.

Animal Law
This elective is an introduction to the laws and statues that affect animals. Readings explore the historical legal treatment of animals and the possibility for changes in the future.
Dairy Farm Welfare Tours and Assessment
Students are taken to several different dairy farms that are clients of Tufts Ambulatory Service.  During tours of the farms, students are exposed to various aspects of dairy production and different styles and types of farming methods. The key focus is examining and comparing specific animal husbandry issues, and discussing these issues from a practical on-farm perspective.
Wildlife in Captivity
This elective asks the questions “Is it OK to keep wildlife (releasable or non-releasable) in captivity? If so, what are some situations that might be appropriate or inappropriate?” Students participate in discussions which examine the many and varied reasons that humans keep wild animals in captivity and the moral, ethical, medical and biological implications of doing so.
Introduction to Animal Welfare
This elective introduces the student to the definitions and concepts of animal welfare, a brief review of its history, legislation and policy in the US and elsewhere. The course considers various aspects of assessing welfare, including stress, physical health, mental states, and quality of life.  Issues such as selective breeding, environmental conditions, transportation, humane killing, and animals as business opportunities are discussed with a cross-species approach.  Finally, the students are introduced to methods of conducting welfare assessments.
Principles of Animal Behavior
This course offers an integrated approach to animal behavior with a focus on understanding how behavior reflects and responds to welfare and stress.  Different approaches to animal behavior will be examined, including ethology, behaviorism and learning theory, behavior genetics, developmental psychology, and cognitive psychology.

In addition, a series of practicum selectives will be offered through the Animals in the Community track, including: