AS416 Animal Behavior, Animal Minds, and Animal Protection

Course Description

The study of animal behavior (ethology), particularly the study of animal minds (cognitive ethology), offers important insights for animal welfare and animal protection. Knowledge (and beliefs) about animal minds inform how we treat animals in the wide variety of venues in which animals are used (food, clothing, education, research, and entertainment). This course takes a comparative, ecological, and evolutionary view of animals and animal behavior, discussing a wide range of species and contexts. 3 credits

Course Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge about the general field of animal behavior (ethology);
  • Describe the contributions of cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds, what's in these minds and how it got there) to the study of different species;
  • Critique the prevailing paradigm in the human relationship to animals with reference to demonstrated animal capacities examined in this course (cognition, awareness, emotionality, etc.).

Course Topics

(Subject to Change)

  • Animal sentience and perceptions
  • Animal cognition and awareness
  • Animal emotions
  • Animal communication
  • Animal pleasure
  • Sociability and virtue

Course Materials

(Subject to Change)

  • Dugatkin, L. 2009. Principles of Animal Behavior. W. W. Norton & Company, New York.
  • Balcombe, J. 2010. Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
  • Balcombe, J. 2006. Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good. Macmillan, London.