APS-30306 Sustainable Development of Animal Systems: Issues and Options


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Problem-based learning40
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. IJM de Boer
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. IJM de Boer
dr. ir. HMJ Udo
dr. ir. SJ Oosting
dr. ir. CHAM Eilers
ing. FA Steenstra
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. IJM de Boer
dr. ir. HMJ Udo

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:


Continuation courses:



Consumers in wealthy countries demand high quality safe food that is produced with minimal environmental losses, under optimal conditions for animal health and welfare. Hence, livestock production should be economically feasible, ecologically sound, and socially acceptable or in other words, should contribute to sustainable development. Similarly, in less developed countries, livestock production should not only satisfy an increasing demand, but also contribute to poverty alleviation of smallholders. This course gives an overview of various methods/approaches that can be used to analyze problems with respect to sustainable development of food production. Consecutively, students tackle problems related to ecological sustainability (i.e., environmental impact of conventional versus organic milk production), societal sustainability (i.e. perception of veal calf welfare) and economic sustainability. Finally, sustainability assessment of innovations in farming systems is performed.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of the course, a student must be able to:
- compute and interpret indicators to assess the environmental, social and economic performance of animal production systems;
- set up an interview to obtain information on, e.g., social sustainability issues;
- analyze data obtained from an interview statistically;
- perform a problem tree analysis for a given problem situation;
- perform a sustainability assessment of innovations in farming systems by completing ict-based systems analyses and interpretation of model results;
- write a scientific research proposal.


Lectures, working group activities with each week a different issue, short presentations and discussions.


Written English exam answered in English and a report.


Study guide and reader in English

Compulsory for: MASAnimal SciencesMScC: Animal Production Systems5MO
Restricted Optional for: MOAOrganic AgricultureMScA: Agro Ecology5MO
MOAOrganic AgricultureMScB: Consumer and Market5MO