Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Hormones, stress and the welfare of animals

A. J. Tilbrook A B C and C. R. Ralph A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Animal Welfare Science Centre, Division of Livestock and Farming Systems, South Australian Research and Development Institute, University of Adelaide, Roseworthy, SA 5371, Australia.

B Present address: Centre for Animal Science, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, Level 3, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, Building 80, University of Queensland, 306 Carmody Road, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: a.tilbrook@uq.edu.au

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN16808
Submitted: 12 December 2016  Accepted: 1 June 2017   Published online: 28 July 2017

Abstract

There are numerous endocrine (hormonal) responses during stress and these are often complex. This complexity makes the study of endocrine stress responses challenging and the challenges are intensified when attempts are made to use measures of hormones to assess the welfare of animals because so many endocrine systems are activated during stress and because there are countless stimuli that trigger these systems. Most research has concentrated on only a small number of these endocrine systems, particularly the hypothalamo–pituitary adrenal axis and the sympathoadrenal system, and there is a need to broaden the scope of endocrine systems that are studied. Furthermore, systematic approaches are required to establish when the actions of hormones associated with stress responses result in physiological and/or behavioural consequences that will have negative or positive effects on the welfare of animals.


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