Animal Systems

The role of animals in civilization has an ancient history, and they are no less prominent in today’s society. For example, pigs were domesticated in China as long as 10,000 years ago and are still vital to our lifestyle today. But we know that pigs are also intelligent beings. What are their preferences for habitat and treatment, and what are their social and reproductive habits?

Animals today are used for clothing, food, transportation, agriculture, herding, companionship, guide assistance, and crime fighting, and research continues to reveal new uses. As our scientific understanding of animal systems grows, so do our best practices, ethical considerations, and research applications. How mankind treats animals impacts their well-being and productivity.

The course provides students with a wealth of information on livestock-management practices, animal husbandry, physiological systems, the latest scientific trends, and innovations in food production.

Changes in practices, regulations, and legislation for animal welfare continue as new research provides solutions to medical, ethical, and practical concerns. The course reviews current topics, such as advancements in technology and research, and defines areas of discussion while maintaining focus on best-management practices. How the research translates to management practices is a vital area of study and discussion.


  • Understand the role of animal agriculture in society.
  • Examine and apply best-management practices in animal agriculture.
  • Compare animal welfare versus animal rights.
  • Evaluate and select superior animals to be used for reproductive purposes.
  • Investigate animal-performance data.
  • Explore careers in animal agriculture.
  • Study the environmental impact of animal management and production systems.

Animal Systems Course Requirements
This is an introductory course in animal systems at the high-school level. An interest in animal physiology, husbandry, livestock, veterinary practice, animal welfare, or food production would be desirable for students of the course. The information gained will be helpful in making educational decisions for undergraduate or graduate study. A student might use the knowledge gained from the course to further an interest in becoming a chef, a researcher, a doctor, a wildlife-management professional, or any number of applicable careers. No previous experience in or knowledge of these careers is required for the course.

Some students will have more experiential knowledge of animals; however, hands-on experience is not a requirement. The course covers livestock anatomy, physiology, and reproductive systems, but medical knowledge is not required for the course.

The ability to review online information, research topics independently, pursue hands-on projects, and create reports and presentations is required.

State: National
Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12
Category: Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources
Course Length: Semester