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Course Description

Person studying a chart of beef cuts sketched on wall

This course is an introduction to anatomy and carcass structure of farm animals. Consideration is given to the major systems in the body and the whole range of animal structure from molecular biology to commercial carcass grading. The course provides a basic understanding of factors such as meat tenderness, adipose development in the carcass, abnormalities of meat quality such as PSE pork and dark-cutting beef, and carcass composition.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to: 

  1. Describe primary animal structures in food animal production species and describe their location in the animal body
  2. Outline the domestication of the major food animal production species
  3. Explain major structural components of organ systems for food animal production species
  4. Explain the process of muscle contraction and relaxation
  5. Discuss how muscle is converted to meat after death
  6. Explain factors affecting meat quality
  7. Analyze the slaughter procedures for the major food animal production species
  8. Identify major muscles in the primary cuts of meat
  9. Identify major bones in food animal production species

Course Topics

  • Basic Concepts of Animal Structure
  • Organ Systems
  • Muscle
  • Conversion of Muscle to Meat / Meat Quality
  • Connective Tissue / Adipose Tissue
  • Bone
  • Gene Mutations / Carcass Grading
  • Avian Systems

Additional Requirements

Prerequisite(s): 2 of BIOL*1050, BIOL*1070, BIOL*1080, BIOL*1090


Assessment Item Weight
Quizzes (4 x 7.5%) 30%
Lab Analysis (Discussion) 30%
Online Final Exam 40%
Total 100%



Additional Technical Requirements

This course will use the Respondus tool to invigilate one or more exams. In order to use Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor, you must meet the following technical requirements:

  1. Operating Systems: Windows 10, 8, 7; Mac OS X 10.10 or higher.
  2. Memory: Windows 2 GB RAM; Mac 512 MB RAM.
  3. For Mac users: Safari must function properly on the computer.
  4. Mac users must have Adobe Flash Player installed to Safari, even if a different browser is normally used.
  5. Functioning webcam and microphone. The webcam and microphone can be built into your computer or can be the type that plugs in with a USB cable. (You will be required to do an environment scan of your room, so please ensure you can move your computer, laptop or webcam for this scan.)
  6. A broadband Internet connection. It is recommended that you access the Internet via a wired connection.

Technical Requirements

You are responsible for ensuring that your computer system meets the necessary system requirements. Use the browser check tool to ensure your browser settings are compatible and up to date (results will be displayed in a new browser window).

*Course details are subject to change.

Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Structure of Farm Animals
September 09, 2021 to December 03, 2021
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Domestic Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $683.39 Click here to get more information
International Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $2,908.38 Click here to get more information
Available for Credit
0.5 units
Section Notes

Note:  If you are in a degree program at the University of Guelph, please DO NOT register using the link above.  You must register through WebAdvisor.

Section Materials
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Clinical Anatomy and Physiology for Veterinary Technicians by Thomas Colville and Joanna M. Bassert © 2016 Mosby Elsevier 3rd edition ISBN 9780323227933
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