Morphological feeding and animal welfare
Module Morphological evaluations of farm animals and animal welfare

Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: Giuseppe LICITRA

Expected Learning Outcomes

1) knowledge and understanding: The course aims to acquire the methods of evaluating the morphological characteristics of animals in zootechnical production in order to estimate the productive potential associated with them; Provide general information on the principal regulations concerning animal welfare, and also on some aspects of this issue (transport, slaughter, castration, diagnostic systems).

2) ability to apply knowledge and understanding: The student will acquire skills in traditional and modern methods of detecting the main functional parameters relating to the productive and reproductive aspects of livestock species as a function of the productive attitudes of the different genetic types, and broad knowledge of the main regulations concerning animal welfare, including transport, slaughter, castration, diagnostic systems.

3)Activities on farms. The students in groups will be involved in short internships at some agricultural farms for demonstrations and checks on the main topics of the course, from morphological assessments to animal welfare.

4) autonomy of judgment: During the course of the lessons the student is stimulated to acquire his own independent ability to judge the meaning and cultural and professional relevance of the topics covered. In particular, the ability to collect and interpret data useful for determining independent judgments is stimulated through the individual presentation of arguments provided by the teacher, the carrying out of group exercises; the carrying out educational group visits; the drafting of papers by the student following bibliographic research. The autonomy of judgment, therefore, develops progressively and requires a personal commitment of the student who will be evaluated during the course of the exam.

5) Communication skills: The ability to communicate information, ideas, and solutions to specialist interlocutors and not specialists, is stimulated through the involvement of students in guided discussions and the display of papers, with critical evaluation by the teacher during the exam.

6) Learning skills: The student must acquire the ability to learn and study independently and to keep himself constantly updated on the new knowledge emerging from the research. This ability is stimulated and evaluated, involving the student, in drafting in-depth reports and presentations to be exhibited in front of the teacher during the exam.

Course Structure

Lectures, in-depth seminars on some of the topics covered, classroom exercises, farm visits with examples of morphological evaluation of live animals.

Frontal exercises and on farms

If teaching is given in a mixed formula or remotely, necessary changes may be introduced to what was previously stated in order to comply with the provided and reported  syllabus.

 Learning assessment may be done remotely if necessary.

As a guarantee of equal opportunities and in compliance with current laws, interested students can ask for a personal interview in order to plan any compensatory and/or dispensatory measures, based on their specific needs and on teaching objectives of the discipline. 
It is also possible to ask the departmental contacts of CInAP (Center for Active and Participatory Integration - Services for Disabilities and/or DSAs).

Detailed Course Content

The part of morpho-functional evaluations of the course will cover the following topics: study and description of the skeleton; anatomy and physiology of the mammary apparatus; study of morphological types; zoognostic terminology; the zoognostic regions: anatomical bases and their merits and defects; zoometric measurements and indices; morphological and functional evaluation of the dairy cow and beef cattle; age estimation from the examination of the teeth; carcass classification (Europe and North America). Presentation of the main genetic improvement programs and relative indices of evaluation of the breeders. The part of the course that will deal with the welfare of farm animals will deal with the current legislation, the farriery technique (care of the bovine foot), the "Wellness" Integrated Diagnostic System, castration in the various species of zootechnical interest, animal transport and slaughter techniques

Textbook Information

1) D. Balasini – Zoognostica – Edagricole;
2) Bortolami-Callegari-Beghelli – Anatomia e Fisiologia degli animali domestici – Edagricole;

3) Cataloghi centri di fecondazione Artificiali

4) Dispense del docente; Supporti informatici forrniti dal docente tramite e-mail ( Studium


Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1Scheletro e apparato mammario (anatomia e fisiologia) • Descriptive terminology of skeletal structure • Anatomy and physiology of mammary systemTesto 2: cap 5; cap 8; Dispense del docente
2Tipi morfologici, funzionali e costituzionali*; Terminologia zoognostica ; Misurazioni e indici zoometrici; Regioni zoognostiche • Morphological, functional and constitutional types * • Anatomic region terminology • Measures and indicesTesto 1: cap. 1; cap 3; cap 4; cap 6; cap 7; Dispense del docente
3Valutazione morfologica e funzionale della vacca da latte*; Valutazione morfologica e funzionale dei bovini da carne*; Cenni di valutazione morfologica e funzionale degli equini ovini, caprini e suini • Judging dairy cows and beef * •Testo 1: cap. 11; cap 12; cap 8; Dispense del docente
4Modelli di Miglioramento Genetico per animali da latte e da carneCataloghi centri di fecondazione artificiali e dispense del docente
5Classificazione delle carcasse e tagli della carne bovina (sistemi UE, USA e Canada)* • Evaluation of animal age • Carcass classification and principal meat joints (EU, USA and Canada systems)*Testo 1: cap. 11; cap 12; cap 8; Dispense del docente
6Normativa vigente*; Tecnica di mascalcia; Sistema diagnostico integrato benessere; Castrazione; Law in force* • Technique of mascalcia • Welfare integrated diagnostic system* • Technique of castration •Dispense del docente
7Experience at some agricultural farms to participate on real morfological evaluation of animals and its welfar.

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

Verification of learning takes place through the oral interview and trough an elaborate on teach'er indication . . The evaluation of the student's preparation will take place on the basis of the following criteria: learning ability and level of depth of the topics covered; properties of synthesis and exposure; student's ability to reason; ability to develop elaboration on topics provided by the teacher.

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

1.     Morphological and physiological types

2.     Morphological evaluation of dairy cows and beef cattle.

3.     Morphological evaluation of sheep and horses.

4.     Role of morphological evaluations in genetic improvement plans.

5.     Animal welfare evaluation indices.

6.     Current animal welfare legislation.

7.     Animal welfare: what interventions can improve animal welfare on farms.

8.     Classification of carcasses with respect to morphological evaluations of meat animals.

9.     Most frequent genetic models