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Objective and contents

Objectives of the course

The aim is to give PhD students an overview of concepts and methods in Animal Health Economics (AHE) in the perspective of the primary livestock production – primarily at the herd level and secondly at the national level. This version of the course will focus on economics of animal health, welfare and carbon footprint in dairy farms, and the course will include AHE input for public regulations of livestock production.

Learning outcomes and competences

The course will qualify the students to:

·        Apply tools to support a farmer in drafting animal health and welfare management strategy for a livestock farm

·        Select and apply basic methods for AHE analysis of an enterprise

·        Evaluate the economic consequences of animal health and welfare problems in a farm and in the society

·        Evaluate, compare and discuss alternative management strategies to solve a disease- or welfare-related problem in a herd.

·        Explain and discuss how these alternative management strategies interact on animal health and welfare, carbon footprint, biosecurity, work load and farmers preferences. 

Course contents

The course will consist of a one-week residential course, and one month later a two-day follow-up course will take place. We introduce the concept of animal health and welfare, visit a farm and experience how they make AHE decisions, and the student will be provided with a set of tools and skills that can be used in their PhD projects. Various health and welfare problems will be addressed during the course. As an example of studying various aspects of a specific health problem, we will give particular attention to health problems with significant implications for animal welfare and carbon footprint in dairy cows. This will cover the various factors involved and how to provide AHE analyses given the actual availability of on-farm data. Different models will be introduced.

AHE becomes increasingly more important in development of public regulation of the livestock production. This will be covered by a lecture by Jonathan Rushton, University of Liverpool, UK.

The course includes lectures, exercises (both individual and in groups), and discussions and presentations both in groups and in plenum.

During the one month between the course periods each student write an individual report where presented methods are applied on a subject of own choice (could be related to their PhD study). These reports are presented and discussed on the two-day follow-up course where the students also act as opponents on each other’s report presentations.

Participants are expected to deliver 150 working hours divided between:

  • Course: 5+2 days 2022, including lectures, participant presentations and group work (60h)
  • Preparation: Short scientific presentation of own PhD research project in relation to economics of livestock health and welfare & Reading of background literature (40h)
  • Write an individual report where introduced methods are applied & Presenting and discussing it in plenum (50h)