Role of oxytocin in improving the welfare of farm animals - A review

  • Chen, Siyu (Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tohoku University) ;
  • Sato, Shusuke (Animal Science, Faculty of Life and Environmental Science, Teikyo University of Science)
  • Received : 2015.12.25
  • Accepted : 2016.02.29
  • Published : 2017.04.01


Recently, increasing attention has been paid to the welfare of farm animals, which have been evaluated using behavioral and physiological measures. However, so far, the measures have almost always been used to estimate poor welfare. In this review, firstly we focus on how oxytocin (OT) relates to positive social behavior, pleasure, and stress tolerance, and second on which management factors stimulate OT release. OT induces maternal and affiliative behaviors and has an anti-stress effect. Further, OT is produced during enjoyable events, and has positive feedback on its own release as well. Therefore, to some extent, the relationship of OT to positive normal behavior was mutually beneficial-heightened OT concentration owing to comfortable rearing conditions induces positive social behavior, which in turn may increase OT concentration. Hence, studies on animal welfare should pay more attention to increasing comfort and the stress tolerance, rather than only focusing on when stress occurs in farm animals.


Supported by : Tohoku University


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