Animal Welfare Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

Get Daily news and updates directly to your Email

What is Animal Welfare?

Animal welfare is defined by an animal being in a good state of health, comfort, nourishment, safety, natural behavior and is not suffering from pain, fear, or distress.

Animal welfare pertains to the living conditions of animals who are kept in captivity or are otherwise under human control and how the animal is coping within those conditions. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling, and humane slaughter.

Animal welfare attempts to alleviate the suffering of human-controlled animals and to ensure a minimum standard of living conditions and treatment. Throughout the world, animal welfare is the topic of legislation, retailer standards, and codes of practice.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Animal Welfare courses in the following subject areas:

  • Certificate in Animal Welfare – The study of the legal, commercial, ethical, and agricultural aspects of animal welfare.
  • Advanced Certificate in Animal Welfare – An advanced study of how to provide the best standard of care for a variety of animals and a comprehensive understanding of animal welfare.
  • Animal Welfare and Animal Behaviour – Develop an understanding of the process of domestication of animals and the provisions needed to promote physical and mental wellbeing in domestic and captive animals.
  • Animal Care Assistant – This Animal Care Assistant course provides learners with fascinating insights into the health care, grooming, welfare needs, and the behavior of a wide variety of small animals.
  • Certificate in Animal Conservation – A study of the approach to conservation of wildlife, how to deal with threatened wildlife, and the recovery of threatened species.
  • Certificate in Animal Health care – Gain the right skills and understanding of how to identify health issues in pets and learn the basics of animal health care practices.
  • Advanced Certificate in Animal Health Care – A study of the basics of animal health care practices for pet owners and those working in animal care and veterinary care.
  • Certificate in Animal First Aid – A comprehensive course that will equip all animal lovers with the necessary skills, expertise, and confidence to assess if an animal requires emergency attention and then act before it is too late.

Studying Animal Welfare in college

Many Animal Welfare courses take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification.

Whatever career area in Animal Welfare you’re interested in, finding some short-term paid or voluntary work will improve your prospects of getting a job and can give you valuable insight into how a company or institution operates. It may also help you decide whether you want to work in the public, private or voluntary sector.

You could consider work experience or volunteering to help in positions like caring for pets or working in dog kennels, on farms, or in veterinary practice for a sustained period.

It could also be useful to demonstrate your interest in working in a laboratory to show you are genuinely keen to work in this environment. This could include gaining some voluntary or part-time work in a laboratory or scientific setting to show you’re familiar with lab procedures.

Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. When working in Animal Welfare you will typically work around 37 hours a week. This usually includes some early morning, late-night, weekend, and bank holidays working on a rota basis, as animal care is needed 24/7. Part-time work may also be available for experienced and qualified technicians.

The work can be physically demanding and tiring, and you’ll need a high level of concentration and attention to detail.

Related jobs include:

  • Academic researcher
  • Animal nutritionist
  • Animal physiotherapist
  • Animal technician
  • Nature conservation officer
  • Zookeeper
  • Zoologist
  • Charity officer
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental consultant
  • Field trials officer
  • Research scientist
  • Science writer
  • Veterinary nurse
  • Volunteer coordinator

Further study

After completing a course in Animal Welfare you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as Animal Science and Technology.


Why is Animal Welfare important?

Animal welfare is important because every animal deserves to have a good life and there are so many animals around the world suffering from being used for entertainment, food, medicine, fashion, scientific advancement, and as exotic pets.

Raising animals humanely can use less feed, fuel, and water than intensive farming which in turn reduces costs and pollution. Humane farms can create jobs, boost profits and keep local food supplies healthy. By farming crops and livestock, humane farms can reduce environmental damage – recycling nutrients and improving the soil, so there is no reason why all farms cannot be humane and this is just one of the many things that animal welfare deals with.

What is the difference between animal rights and animal welfare?

Animal rights advocates believe that every animal deserves the right to live a life free from human control.

Animal welfare implicitly reinforces the human use of animals, because welfare is applied to situations where animals are under the control of humans.

What are the basic welfare needs for the wellbeing of an animal?

· The need for a suitable environment.

· The need for a suitable diet.

· The need to exhibit normal behavioral patterns.

· The need to be housed with or apart from other animals.

· The need to be protected from pain, suffering, and disease.

What skills could be helpful for a career in Animal Welfare?

Knowledge of areas such as animal physiology, biology, reproduction, behavior, welfare, training, conservation, pests, and diseases will all be extremely helpful for a career in Animal Welfare.

Practical skills like animal handling, husbandry, and training, as well as scientific research skills such as behavioral measurement, will also increase your career option in the field.

Where can I study Animal Welfare?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • Every major circus that uses animals has been cited for violating the minimal standards of care set by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
  • To make a 40-inch fur coat it takes between 30 and 200 chinchillas or 60 mink, 50 sables, 50 muskrats, 45 opossums, 40 raccoons, 35 rabbits, 20 foxes, 20 otters, 18 lynx, 16 coyotes, 15 beavers, or 8 seals.
  • Puppy mills are large-scale commercial dog breeding operations that put greater priority on profits than the health of the puppies. Many dogs are plagued with illnesses like kidney or heart disease as a result of the conditions they’re kept in.
  • The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ guidelines state that members should not involve animals “in animal shows, displays or interactive experiences where animals perform demeaning and unnatural behaviors”. World Animal Protection surveyed more than 1,200 zoos and aquariums linked to WAZA and found that most of them offer cruel experiences with animals, including having captive animals perform stunts in theatrical shows and using them as photo props.
  • Wild animals that are kept as household pets will inevitably experience some level of suffering. It is impossible to meet all of the needs of a wild animal if that animal is not in the wild. Each year, millions of wild animals are captured from their natural habitats or born into captivity, just to become pets.


Mariza Halliday

Animal Conservation Courses
Radiation Therapy Courses


  1. Annmarie Kerr 19th August 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Hi, i am looking to do some sort of animal rights/activist course. Could you guide me on this please? Im not sure what career would be more achievable either doing a law based course or actyal animal welfare in Ireland


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We'd love to send you the latest news and articles about evening classes, further learning and adult education by email. We'll always treat your personal details with the utmost care and will never sell them to other companies for marketing purposes.

Comments and Reviews Policy