Functional Priorities Under Stress

A performing animal is one that is producing some product, progeny, or work or performing some activity useful to humans. The rate of performance of a constitutionally fit animal usually is the best single indicator of that animal's state of being.[5] When its performance wanes, the animal probably is not as well is it could be.

When bodily resources become limiting as often happens during stress some processes must be downplayed so others more vital at the moment can ascend. The goals of individual survival (maintenance) and species perpetuation (reproduction) in that order are an ani mal's top priorities. Other performance processes may not be critical to an individual's survival or reproduction, so they are least protected and least spared.

When an animal responds to any stimulus, its maintenance needs invariably increase. Resource expenditures in support of maintenance processes increase progressively along with stress intensity, so the animal's potential performance capabilities progressively decrease.

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