Stress in livestock
It is important to manage the affects of stress factors on livestock. This is because chronic exposure to stress impacts negatively on welfare status and prolonged exposure to stress can have detrimental affects on productivity. But, first it is important to understand what stress is and gain an overview of the complex physiological response to stress. Pigs are a useful model of stress in livestock as measures of productivity can be used to demonstrate the impact of stress. As commercially reared livestock can be exposed chronically to a variety of stress factors throughout their lives, the differing impact acute and chronic stress challenges are described. The challenge is to monitor and manage and the chronic affects of stress in livestock on-farm. Gene and protein expression profiling are powerful tools for elucidating the stress response pathways and identify markers of stress. However ultimately, a multi-disciplinary approach to chronic stress quantification is required to ensure a robust approach.
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