Meristem Land and Science: Driving Progress in Sustainability


Innovative DeStress captures livestock welfare and economic benefits

Posted: March 27, 2014

Canadian cattle, swine and equine industries now have access to DeStress – an innovative nutritional therapy product developed to deliver a combination of animal welfare and productivity benefits.

DeStress is a breakthrough formulation that targets these complementary advantages by applying the power of nutritional therapy to protect animals against the negative effects of stress related to transport and handling. It's a one-of-a-kind product developed by Canadian researchers and currently available in DeStress-Swine DeStress-Ruminants and DeStress-Equine versions.

"The science shows that DeStress benefits the animals, protects value for both the producer and the packer, and results in a better product," says Dr. Al Schaefer, representing DeStress Nutritional Technology. "It is well suited to the emerging needs of a responsible, efficient and sustainable livestock sector, built for the future."

Importantly, DeStress is drug free and based solely on natural nutritional ingredients, says Krisjan Jones, Marketing and Sales Lead for DeStress Nutritional Technology. "It's designed with the producer in mind and the needs of today's industries. DeStressis formulated to be highly palatable and easily fed. It is available in a crumble, ready-to-use form that is mixed with the normal ration. We're actively working to make the product available in water soluble form for use in water troughs, tanks and lines."

The negative effects of stress on livestock comprise a long list. It includes loss of live weight and carcass yield (shrink); degraded meat quality including dark cutting (cattle), color change (swine) and PSE meat (swine); degraded quality grade due to marbling loss (cattle); reduced tenderness due to dehydration; reduced growth performance (average daily gain); challenges to an animal's immune system; and degraded animal well-being.

However, livestock researchers including Schaefer and colleagues have made great strides in understanding the role and potential of nutrition to counteract and protect against these negative impacts.

"We know more than ever about the stress related to transport and handling and the impacts this can have on the well-being of the animals and on related economic factors," says Schaefer. "DeStress is the result of years of research, including numerous publications and both research site and commercial trials, to combine this knowledge with what we're learning on the nutrition side."

The benefits identified are substantial, with clear improvements shown with both pre- and post-transport treatments, he says. Among key examples: for cattle, packer trials evaluating post transport treatment show 10 percent improvement in quality grade with the DeStress nutritional therapy. Trials evaluating results of pre-transport treatment show a significant improvement in carcass yield. With swine, research site trials show nearly 60 percent reduction in live weight loss in market pigs and over 45 percent reduction in frequency of aggressive acts with use of nutritional therapy.

DeStress-Swine, DeStress-Ruminants and DeStress-Equine are broadly available in Canada through Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. and also at key outlets in Alberta including Ag-Rem Feed Productsin Lethbridge and Wetaskiwin Co-op. Learn more about DeStress Nutritional Techology and its suite of stress management solutions at www.destress-nutrition.com.