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Stress in Animals

Stress occurs when animals have to make extreme and/or prolonged physiological and behavioural adjustments in order to cope with their environment.

S              Situations

T              That

R             Release

E              Emergency

S              Signals for

S              Survival

 Animals can experience three types of stress:

  • Physical – due to fatigue or injury.
  • Physiological – due to hunger, thirst or temperature control.
  • Behavioural – due to the environment, unfamiliar people or surroundings.

The factors which can cause stress are called stressors, e.g. noise, unfamiliar pen-mates or dogs. Although many animals might be able to tolerate a single stressor for a short period of time, multiple stressors over a long period of time may lead to distress and suffering.



The ability of animals to cope with stress will also depend on:

  • the genetic background of the species;
  • the animal’s past experiences.

Some degree of stress is inevitable during transport, the aim must be to keep it to a minimum.

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