The question of the relationship between human beings and animals is becoming more and more important on the associative, political, scientific and media scenes. In France, there is also a growing demand for the promotion of empathetic relationships with animals in schools, colleges, high schools, and in the workplace (production, entertainment, health).

It now seems necessary to bring a perspective that mainly mobilizes the human and social sciences to professionals working in the public, private and associative sectors in order to reinforce their knowledge of this emerging theme. They will thus be able to benefit from a university course which will help them to understand the evolutions of the relations of our societies with the other animals, and to grasp all the dimensions of these changes.

This transdisciplinary course will provide theoretical and methodological insight, as well as more concrete knowledge, to those who are concerned, from near or far, with the animal condition, the relationship between humans and animals, and the moral and legal status of animals. It aims to contribute to giving a scientific, conceptual, and academic dimension to this sometimes divisive issue, whose ethical, economic, and societal stakes are high.

This course, which will lead to a university diploma, will be given by teacher-researchers and by professionals from the associative and private sectors (educational, legal and animalist fields).

Skills and competencies 

  • Understand and be able to reuse the theories and concepts of animal studies in professional situations.
  • Master the major stages in the history of practices related to animal relations in French- and English-speaking territories.
  • Master the ethical, geographical, legal, sociological, linguistic and historical analysis tools necessary for the development, implementation and evaluation of professional practices and public policies related to the animal condition.
  • To provide a framework for analyzing and putting into perspective the French and English-speaking societal movements around the animal condition.
  • Identify and analyze concepts and attitudes built around the status (real or imaginary) of animals.
  • Understand the stakes and identify the stakeholders in the debates around the moral status of non-human animals.
  • To accompany the reflections on the socio-ecological transition.
  • Master the basic legal rules that apply to the treatment of animals.

Organization of the course

Course duration: 77 hours (70 hours of classes + 7 hours of lectures during the study day).

Description of the teachings and organization of the course :
– June 2020: selection of trainees.
– Autumn 2020: week of classes (during the All Saints’ Day vacations).
– Winter 2021: week of classes (during the winter vacations, zone B).
– End of May 2021: submission of files by the trainees.
– June 23 and 24, 2021: defense and study day.



Maximum capacity of 50 students

Admission conditions

Bac + 2 or professional, social and personal experience of at least 2 years in education, the voluntary sector, the public sector, or professions in contact with animals.

How to apply

The application is made by electronic means via the following link

Target audience

– Teachers, educators.
– Employees of the private and public sectors (cultural or associative).
– Project and mission managers (animal condition, environment, biodiversity).

Tuition fees

1200 euros (registration and university fees)



Sociology of the relationship with animals (14h) / Véronique Van Tilbeurgh, Prof. of Sociology, Rennes 2 University

Animal Studies (14h) / Émilie Dardenne, MCF in English, Rennes 2 University

Law (14h) / Arielle Moreau, lawyer, consultant for the association One Voice

1/ In the first part of the legal module, we will see how the legal protection of animals was organized around the right of ownership and then the willingness to educate the people:

2/ Animal ethics, ethics of living beings and the rule of law: from ethics to labels. In this second part, we will focus on the rise of the concept of animal welfare. We will see that this vast notion is conceived according to a variable geometry. In particular, we will discuss the following elements that allow us to redraw the contours of contemporary French law relating to the status of animals:

Education, awareness, communication (17h)

1/ The animal cause as a social movement: awareness-raising strategies and pedagogies of animal ethics / Dominic Hofbauer, animal ethics educator, L214 association (14h). This course will analyze the different communication strategies of animal rights NGOs on a diachronic and political level:

2/ Drôle de Zèbre, support for actions in favor of biodiversity and the animal cause with companies and local authorities / Anne-Laure Meynkens, consultant in animal issues (3h)

Food, environments and societies (7h) / Laurence Le Dû-Blayo, MCF in Geography, Rennes 2 University

Methodology of the research file (1h) / Emilie Dardenne, MCF in English, Université Rennes 2


And then what ?

Occupational integration

  • Fields of information and communication.
  • Fields of local authorities, public policies and state services.
  • Fields of education.
  • Associative fields.


Find out more about the training course here