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USJ to launch course in animal welfare

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The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) is going to open a new certificate course on animal welfare, a school staff member revealed to the Times yesterday.
The program offers an opportunity for interested students to study various areas of knowledge, from the biological foundations of animal welfare to applications in animal production and animals used in research, in zoological parks or as companions.
In response to MDT’s inquiry, a biologist in animal behaviour and behavioural neuroendocrinology, David Gonçalves, who is to teach research methods, said: “The course consists of eight modules with a face-to-face working load. The situation of animal welfare in Macau is quite different from that in Europe. We think the protection and welfare of animals can be and should be better here. That’s the motivation for launching this new program.”
The course will last a total of 168 hours. Sessions will be conducted after work hours and on Saturdays. As stated by Gonçalves, course setting would be geared to a scientific base. The course will include a hands-on laboratory component as well as field trips to facilities that use animals for different purposes. The program, as stated on the official website, will also be an opportunity to gain an overview of the current status of the societal approach to animal welfare in different countries and to compare that with the present situation in Macau, Hong Kong and China.
By setting up this course, USJ aims to apply the theoretical framework to animal welfare assessment and management in the context of research labs, zoological parks, animal production facilities or domestic environments. Furthermore, participants will be provided with basic tools in animal welfare that can be used in different professional areas such as research, teaching, legislation, animal handling and training, etc.
As Gonçalves said, the course only be certificate based and will not designed as a regular program. “Considering the size of Macau as well as the content of the teaching, I don’t expect there to be a lot of participants, maybe around 15 to 20 would be good.” Six lecturers – three from the Europe, one from Hong Kong and two from Macau, form the lecturer team. “It is enough for us, but we are still looking for local expert to join,” stated Gonçalves.
The certificate program will be newly launched as a trial, “We will see the acceptance of the course and decide whether or not to continue the course next year,” he said.
Program registration is open for the public until April 5. Courses are scheduled to begin on April 22.


Christian studies back at seminary

USJ’s Faculty of Christian Studies will return to the St. Joseph Seminary, according to a source close to the process. The relocation will happen at the beginning of the next school year after the renovation works are completed. The faculty had been installed at St. Joseph’s until the year of 2010/2011. In a recent interview, Rector Peter Stilwell also mentioned the intention of relocating the School of Creative Industries to a space previously occupied by Ricci School, in the Nam Van area.

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