Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law

What is Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law?

Who we are?

Animal welfare Science, Ethics and Law (AWSEL) is a subspeciality of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine. We bring together diplomates who are familiar with animal welfare science and research, the philosophical principles of ethics, ethical analysis including devising frameworks for decision making, moral agency and responsibilities of humans (and animals), and have a working knowledge of other related ethical areas of concern, e.g. ethics surrounding healthcare, the environment, and particularly veterinary practice and practices and their inherent inconsistencies.  Comparative professional ethics and etiquette are also of interest.  For law we expect a working knowledge of EU laws relating particularly to farmed animals, current EU concepts on labelling, international trade, and on farm evaluation of animals’ welfare.

Veterinary leadership in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law

These fields are expending rapidly as increasingly legislation for the protection of animal is passed nationally, internationally and supra-nationally.  It is important that the veterinary profession retains a strongly interest and expertise e.g. through the production of recognised specialists, in these areas.  The public expect the profession to take a leading role in both the drawing up and the implementation of animal welfare, i.e. the mental and physical health of animals.

The aim of our post-graduate programmes are to produce highly qualified specialists who can take these fields forward through research and practice and provide leadership for the public as well as for the profession.

Do similar degrees exist in other countries?

In the UK these subjects have been a post-graduate qualification for over a decade, and other countries such as Australia and New Zealand and, most recently, the USA have followed suit.  We aim to harmonise our requirements and liaise closely with them, as we recognise that animal welfare has no borders.


Latest Updates


5th European Veterinary Congress of Behavioural Medicine and Animal Welfare Pisa, 19th-20th October, 2023 The

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