Thanks very much for your replies!
peace: good suggestions - there's actually a welfare shelter I'm on good terms with who have boarding kennels and daycare schemes set up to raise funds, so that's an option for me. I'd love to see how the guide dog groups operate, although I'm not sure whether my course coordinators would view that as a 'commercial' enterprise. I did work for a shelter for 2 years so have considerable experience with 'pets' already - not that that means I like them any less, but I might see if I can gain experience with animals I'm less familiar with to expand my repertoire a bit, so horses sound great. I've done a little bit with them but not enough to really know what I'm doing, so I think a few weeks with horses sounds good!
s0ad: that farm sanctuary sounds like a great organisation, one I'd be very happy to support. I know there are a few sanctuaries in my area (there's a donkey shelter nearby), but I don't think they have a commercial side to them, so might not count towards my course credit. I'll definitely do some research along this path though, sounds right up my alley!
SPJ: a great reference! she sounds like exactly the kind of person I hope to become, and I'm sure her site will be a great avenue for me to follow.
Thanks again for the suggestions, very much appreciated. I don't want to end up helping someone exploit animals for profit, but had been a bit unsure of other paths to follow that would give me credit, so you've really given me some good starts.
As a sidenote, I had considered maybe doing a little bit of time with a production farm, just to learn to 'know my enemy'. I'm not sure whether it's worth it though: I suppose it's a toss-up of whether I'd learn more through practical acquaintance with the system than I could by reading the memoirs of someone who has already done so. I could always surreptitiously sabotage the place though, right?
This in mind, there is a mandatory requirement down the track for me to spend a few days at an abattoir (not really looking forward to that). I think this task has more of an animal welfare focus, but might give me similar insights into the industry as wasting time on work experience would. What do you guys think?