Sustainable Animal Science
Do you find yourself intrigued by the recurring hot topics in the news cycle, such as animal welfare, zoonotic disease risks for public health and the environmental impact of intensive livestock farming? And are you keen to develop your scientific skills in applied research and become a professional in animal science professional, to play a key role in society? Then the minor programme 'Sustainable Animal Science' is just the ticket for you.
Modern animal husbandry faces a variety of challenges. The UN's ‘Food and Agriculture Organization’ (FAO) has formulated the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) and the Dutch government aims to implement circular production systems in the agricultural landscape. Simultaneously, the welfare status of our (domestic) animals and reducing test animal usage in scientific research are central topics in societal debate. Meanwhile, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are campaigning for conservation of biodiversity, and zoos play an important role in breeding programmes for endangered species. All these players have a common goal: a sustainable life alongside our animals!
For sustainable animal husbandry, animal health and welfare guarantees are paramount. Animal scientists need to have profound knowledge of physiological processes in animals. An integral approach of (preventive) animal healthcare, animal nutrition and housing systems, that encourages natural behaviour is essential. According to the ‘one-health principle’, animal health and welfare should always be pursued holistically, combined with good public health and a healthy environment. The aim here is to make animal husbandry sustainable in the Netherlands and around the world. Innovation in the animal sector can limit harmful impacts related to (intensive) animal husbandry, e.g. antimicrobial resistance development (as a result of antimicrobial drugs usage), public health risks due to the spread of zoonotic diseases and emissions of high-environmental-impact gases, such as CO2 and equivalents, as well as nitrogen compounds. Companies in the animal industry constantly collaborate with animal science professionals with a view to innovation in sustainable animal husbandry systems.
The minor programme ‘Sustainable Animal Science’ facilitates students and animal science professionals in laying the foundation that is required to play a crucial part in a future-based sustainable animal husbandry, both in The Netherlands and internationally. Participants will collaborate in group projects to make a relevant contribution to ‘real-life’ innovations. To achieve this, the group will collaborate with professional partners from science and the animal industry. Applied research, combined with literature study and stakeholder conversations, will lead to profound theory-based advice that can be applied in practical situations. Students will also work on individual research into an animal science topic of their choice, to obtain insight into physiological and biological processes in the animal. The students’ individual research will be supervised by a coach with expertise in animal sciences. Students will also be encouraged to meet with animal sciences professional within HAS green academy as well as a large network of partners in the sector. These professionals and partners look forward to contributing as guest lecturers and facilitating excursions. Lastly, students will actively work on the development of professional competencies, e.g. advisory skills, providing information, collaboration in group work and constructive participation in the public debate as an animal science professional.
-Perform an individual study of an animal science topic of your choice, to obtain knowledge of physiological processes that form the base of animal health and welfare. Using the ‘Animal Welfare Quality Eye’, an integrated vision on relevant topics such as (preventive) animal health, animal nutrition, housing and natural behaviour is formed.
-Apply obtained knowledge of animal biology to innovation and contribute to a sustainable animal husbandry system in line with the ‘One Health’ principle.
-Develop general research skills in the context of applied animal scientific research.
-Use research results in combination with literature study and expert opinions to give suitable recommendations related to challenges in sustainable animal science.
-Develop professional competencies, such as advisory skills, societal education and constructive participation in the public debate, all based on a profound theoretical knowledge and practical experience in relevant animal scientific topics.
Students must have (proven) experience in doinging animal research (e.g. from earlier educational research projects or work experience) and/or is motivated to continue their development in this field.
Campbell, N.A., Urry, L.A., Cain, M.L., Wasserman, S.A., Minorsky, P.V., Reece, J.B. (2020) Biology A Global Approach, 12th. Edition. Pearson.
In the minor program ‘Sustainable Animal Science’, students are expected to be able to work full time (42 hours per week) on their studies. The minor program has a duration of 20 weeks (30 ECTS), which can be done in the second semester (terms 3 and 4) of the academic year 2023-2024 at HAS green academy, location Venlo, the Netherlands. Every week, two set days will be scheduled for physical educational activities, which take place at HAS green academy in Venlo. All students are expected to attend these activities. Occasionally, activities may also take place at the sites of partners from the sector or at the HAS green academy premises in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands or at other days in the week. Participation in these activities is strongly recommended, but not obligatory. For the remaining three days a week, students will independently work on the group research project or their individual study. On these days, online participation is also possible.
For the minor programme ‘Sustainable Animal Science’, students contribute as a research group to sustainable innovation projects. Before the execution of this research project, a research proposal is written and research results are reported in a research report. A summative validated will be given for both documents. Furthermore, knowledge obtained in an individual study into a relevant animal science topic is tested during an oral knowledge assessment. To complete the minor program, all test units most be completed with a minimum grade of 5.5.