Living with Animals

Why are animals integral to human society?
How should we approach current animal welfare issues?

Expand your thinking about the world of animals and humans.

  • Investigate our ethical obligations to animals in a balanced and objective way.
  • Use case studies of current hot topics in animal management and welfare to examine human-animal relationships.
  • Gain an understanding of a wide variety of topics, such as greyhound and horse racing, animal conservation, free range vs. caged hens, the live export trade and more.
  • Hear insightful presentations from international experts to compliment lectures and tutorials.
  • Attend excursions to see animal welfare and management in practice.

The Living with Animals track investigates human-animal relationships: including how our interactions with animals originated, domestication, and where they are now, examining in detail key relationships between humans and animals

Animals & Society 1 & 2 are taught by a combination of University of Melbourne lecturers and national and international guest lecturers, including farmers and animal industry representatives, Animals Australia, Greyhound Racing Victoria, Zoos Victoria and the RSPCA This approach allows you to explore different views of human-animal relationships

Other subjects in this track include Companion Animal Biology and Topics in Animal Heath. The subjects in this breadth track are available to Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Environments, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Biomedicine students. Refer to the individual subject entries in the Handbook for more details.

You can study a single breadth subject from a wide range of disciplines distinct from your main field of study in your Bachelor (undergraduate) degree. Or you can choose the 'breadth track' and follow a specialist stream for the duration of your degree.

Living with Animals - Subject Progression

Teaching dog in lecture theatre

Level 1

Semester 2

Think about how and why animals are so integral to human society. Use case studies of current hot topics in animal welfare to examine human-animal relationships; how they originated, the process of domestication, changing attitudes throughout time and humankind's moral and ethical obligation to animals.


Level 2

Semester 1

Companion Animal Biology

Animals such as dogs, cats and horses were once predominantly working animals but increasingly they are seen now as companion animals. This change in relationship has brought benefits and challenges to both owner and animal alike. Alongside traditional companion animal species, more exotic animals are also becoming popular in society. These may include reptiles, amphibians and even native Australian species. Given the almost complete control we have over companion animal species, it is important that we understand how to care for them correctly. Housing, nutrition, health and behaviour all interlink and impact on the welfare and value of our “companions”.

Animals & Society 2: Human-Animal Bond

Consider how and why animals are so integral to human society. Use case studies of current hot topics in animal welfare we examine human-animal relationships and emphasize the complex roles and responsibilities, and ethical requirements in human contact with animals. Learn from examples from species managed as companions in zoos, research environments and in livestock production. This subject contains presentations from internationally recognised experts to compliment lectures and tutorials.

Semester 2

Topics in Animal Health

Explore the major topics on animal health and their relevance to the agricultural industries, domestic animal management and society in general. Focus on the roles and perspectives of the personnel involved i.e. farmers, horse stud and stable workers, animal enterprise managers, laboratory workers and veterinarians. Topics include disease risks to humans (zoonotic diseases), organisational responses to disease outbreaks, bio-security, the epidemiology approach to eradication and control programs, evaluating diagnostic procedures, monitoring animal health, implications for animal enterprise management.

Horses racing

Level 3 - Related Animal Science subjects

Other subjects not included in the track that you might be interested in taking as electives.

Semester 1

Applied Animal Behaviour

This subject allows students to examine the behaviour of farm, companion and laboratory animals and highlights the processes and factors involved in cause and effect manipulating behavioural functionality. The subject will train students to describe, record and measure behaviour, examine the development of behaviour in a range of species; examine the effects of stimuli and communications; motivation, decision making, learning and memory; genetic and hormonal basis of behaviour; organisation, social, sexual, maternal, and dam-neonate interactions.

Semester 2

Animal Welfare and Ethics

This subject develops knowledge and understanding of systems for regulating body function, and physiological and behavioural processes that are utilised by animals in response to environmental challenges. This basis will allow students to evaluate and assess animal welfare and ethical issues that confront livestock production and amenity use of animals in society. The subject will also develop knowledge in adaptation, preference testing, cognition, and short and long-term biological responses.

For more information please email: Subject Coordinator, Dr Rebecca Doyle