Novus International
About Novus
Part: 01
Collaboration
Part: 02
Community
Part: 03
About this Report
Part: 04

How Does Novus Optimize Animal Nutrition and Well-Being?

Animal welfare continues to be at the heart of all that Novus does to develop sustainable solutions for agriculture. Not only is the well-being of all living beings an important value in itself to Novus, but it has been proven time and time again that, in an agricultural context, healthy and well-cared-for animals are more productive and deliver higher quality protein, supporting overall food production in a cost-effective way. With continuing pressures on farmers around the world to deliver higher outputs using fewer resources, investing in the health and well-being of animals yields a high economic return over time.

cows and calfs

Novus employs more than 50 Animal Nutritionists and Doctors of Veterinary Medicine who maintain a constant focus on how our solutions affect the lives of animals and the livelihoods of farmers. Product effectiveness at Novus is determined by working closely with animals and their owners in field studies and a multitude of studies on specific species are progressed on a regular basis. These studies are usually performed in the field where the animals are and reflect the true conditions of raising animals in many different parts of the globe. 

Innovation in Pet Nutrition

Through the Novus Pet Nutrition Division, Novus supplies the Pet Food Industry with products and nutrition solutions. Customers include pet food manufacturers, rendering companies and all forms of suppliers of mineral premixes and other ingredients to pet food manufacturers. Novus has an influence in this industry through its continuous innovation and advanced specialty products and solutions. One area of leadership is Novus's expertise in pigments which are natural, safe and highly stable, in an industry where pigments have always presented quality risks for pet food manufacturers. In 2011, a major global pet food manufacturer started to use Novus's pigments in a range of products. Novus's leading-edge probiotic and prebiotic solutions have achieved recognition as offering comprehensive value for the overall gut health of animals and contributing to their well-being.

Therapeutic Nutrition

Therapeutic Nutrition represents the intersection of animal health and animal nutrition. The interplay between health and nutrition is not always obvious, but in fact it is critical to the long-term sustainability of global food production. Typically, health issues have been addressed pharmaceutically while nutrition issues have been addressed through diet. However, the interplay between health and diet is complex, and understanding the mutual influences of each and how they affect animal well-being and productivity is a key to delivering optimum results. Novus is developing a portfolio of products that offer therapeutic nutritional value and these include prebiotics, probiotics, vaccines, essential oils, protected organic acids and more.

Arenus — We Love Your Animals

Novus's Arenus brand provides invaluable support for the health, comfort and longevity of pets and companion animals. The Arenus product range includes feed supplements to support optimal digestive health, healthy bones and ligaments, relief from respiratory challenges, provision of essential vitamins and a great look with healthy skin and a smooth coat. Arenus also offers ranges of herbal products and flower essence remedies for horses and dogs that need a little extra physical and emotional support. At Novus, we are keenly aware of the benefits that companion animals bring to many people, and in line with Novus's vision to help achieve a better quality of life, by helping owners care for their animals, we help them care for themselves.

arenus logo

Established in 2006 with just one product in the Arenus offering and growing to 45 products in 2011, marketed at present in the U.S. and in Mexico, Arenus is a premier provider of innovative health and nutrition products for horses, pets and companion animals. The mission of Arenus is to become the best-known source of innovative and trusted nutritional and health products and information that help horses and pets achieve optimal health, performance and longevity. In 2011, Arenus commissioned a brand awareness study which gave positive results, demonstrating the brand's development.

Adhering to the Highest Quality Standards

Arenus is an audited voluntary member of the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), an industry group dedicated to protecting the health of companion animals including horses. NASC's overriding goal is to promote the health and wellbeing of companion animals that are given animal health supplements by their owners, and to protect and enhance the integrity of the animal health product industry.

NASC members must agree to adhere to NASC's quality standards which include submitting to an independent audit to ensure conformance with quality system requirements. Compliant members, including Arenus, may display the NASC Quality Seal which confirms to customers that products are supplied by a reputable company that observes the strictest standards of quality, labeling and other responsible practices.

For more information about the NASC, please visit: www.nasc.cc.

Arenus Ambassadors Raise Awareness

Arenus engages with five world class Ambassadors, who are top riders across different riding disciplines, to represent the Arenus brand and promote awareness for best equine care and conditioning. All Arenus Ambassadors use Arenus products for their horses and are happy to share their first-hand experience of the benefits for horse well-being. Arenus Ambassadors include:

  • International dressage rider Dr. Cesar Parra, a Colombian National Champion who rode for the United States in the 2004 Olympic and 2006 World Equestrian Games teams before becoming a U.S. citizen in 2008 and making history in 2010 as the first Latin American rider to share in a Gold medal win by the U.S. Pan American Games Dressage team.
  • Olympic Dressage rider Steffen Peters, a native of Germany, became a U.S. citizen in 1992 and competed with his first U.S. team during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics where the team took home the Bronze medal. At the 2006 World Equestrian Games, Peters helped the U.S. team capture the Bronze medal. Peters went on in more recent years to win many prestigious riding challenges.
  • Chester Weber, the eight-time United States Equestrian Federation National Four-In-Hand Combined Driving Champion and the United States' most decorated combined driver, having won many world-level events. He has riden for the United States in three World Equestrian Games.

Marketing with a Social Benefit

The Arenus Professional Referral Program (PRP), through which professionals receive rewards for referring Arenus products, enhanced its reach and social impact during 2011 through an innovative program to support organizations involved in animal care and well-being. Through the use of a unique code when Arenus products are purchased, Arenus makes a donation equivalent to 10% of the purchase price to the designated organization that is tagged with that code. As a result of this program, many animal-supporting organizations have received much-needed funds, such as the Animal Rehab Institute, Inc., which supports education for horse rehabilitation; the DreamCatcher Horse Rescue Ranch, Inc., which works to protect abused, neglected, stray or abandoned horses; the NRHA, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of the Reining horse that also maintains a foundation to advance charitable programs; and many more. A specific opportunity arose to assist in a time of need following extensive wildfires in Texas in September 2011. Arenus engaged in a coordinated effort with the Texas Lost Pines Riding Club and non-profit BlueBonnet.org, to help nearly 100 horses and cattle find sanctuary. Through the use of a unique Texas Wildfire Code, 10% of the purchase income from Arenus product sales was donated to the Lost Pines Riding Club to help the horses and cattle that had survived the fire recover.

In addition, Arenus promotes not-for-profit organizations at trade shows and horse shows, inviting customers to make purchases using the unique codes of these organizations. This creative way of advancing positive care for horses while providing a benefit for the wider horse community and their owners reflects the essence of Arenus and its mission:

"To deliver scientifically-sound health and nutrition products for companion animals, in order to achieve optimal health, performance, and longevity, so you can enjoy many happy years working, playing and competing together."

Science-Based Results for ASSURE® from the Veterinarian Community

In 2011, Arenus completed and published results for clinical field trials on ASSURE® System products, proving that health issues such as chronic diarrhea, chronic recurrent colic, suspected gastric ulcers, sand accumulation or weight loss in horses are positively influenced by use of ASSURE products. This was the first time that such an extensive in-field program was conducted, engaging the support of veterinarians all over the U.S. to assess ASSURE products over prolonged periods of time and evaluate the results, ensuring no significant bias. This model aligns with the Novus approach of engaging with professional communities and encouraging their involvement while ensuring that product trials are locally and practically relevant to provide substantiated results and sustainable solutions. 90% of veterinarians who evaluated ASSURE products confirmed they would recommend this feeding program in the future.

Riding to Fight Breast Cancer

In October 2011, Arenus partnered with the National Barrel Horse Association during the NBHA 2011 World Championships to contribute in the fight against breast cancer and demonstrate the Arenus commitment to encouraging healthy competition and better health. Arenus created a special event, the STEADFAST® Five Times Faster Dash, a single barrel race to support breast cancer research and awareness.

Helping Chickens to Walk Tall

Raising chickens is not as simple as one may think. One of the most common problems that causes pain for broiler chicks is footpad lesions. Footpad lesions are sores which develop on chicken feet primarily in wet litter conditions, and cause great discomfort as well as a real health risk, as open sores are an invitation for bacteria and infection. Farmer productivity also is negatively affected when chicks suffer from footpad lesions, because this can lead to a higher mortality rate and also because chicken paws are an important food in Asia and must be free from all visible impairments to be commercially viable.

Chicken feet with footpad lesions
Chicken feet with footpad lesions

Chicken feet without footpad lesions
Chicken feet without footpad lesions

In Thailand and other parts of Asia, Novus teams became aware of significant problems with footpad lesions experienced by different customers and set out to develop a solution. The Novus approach was to test the impact of supplemental minerals on performance and footpad health in broiler chicks under wet and dry litter conditions. A 42-day trial was conducted to evaluate two levels of minerals (one of which was Novus's MINTREX chelated trace mineral blend with zinc, copper and manganese) and three types of litter housing (dry, mixed and moist) on footpad health in broiler chicks. The trial yielded many insights into the effects of different mineral levels in chick diets, and the results included a stark improvement in footpad health by over 20 percentage points during the first 14 days in chicks that received the MINTREX mineral supplement. In addition, given that this supplement also increases the bioavailability of other feedstuffs as well as offering additional nutritional value, chicks who received MINTREX showed improved weight gain per unit of feed.

Following this trial, in order to provide customers with a useful tool, Novus developed a standardized model to determine the impacts of nutrition and housing conditions on foot health in chickens. Farmers can use this model to determine optimal feed composition as well as preferred housing conditions required to raise healthy chickens that do not suffer from infected footpads, as well as maintain cost-effective poultry production. In this way, Novus demonstrated a commitment to providing holistic solutions to customers in response to their overall needs, well beyond the core business of Novus, which is related to feed and not to the housing conditions of chicks.

C.O.W.S.

Caring for C.O.W.S.

Following the 2010 completion of the initial benchmarking phase of one of the most significant studies ever conducted on the welfare of cows, Novus has continued to consolidate the learnings from this program and expand its reach. In the Novus 2010 C.O.W.S. (Comfort • Oxidative Balance • Well-Being • Sustainability) study, many aspects of cow well-being were analyzed and a comprehensive benchmark for cow well-being was created using data from 140 dairy cow herds in the United States. For more information about the first phase of this program, see the Novus Sustainability Report 2010.

Engaging with Farmers:

Farmers have a vested interest in the well-being of their herds. Through the C.O.W.S. program, Novus has the opportunity to engage closely with customers to understand their needs and provide appropriate solutions. Novus connects with farmers through the C.O.W.S. program in two ways: First, the C.O.W.S. team visits the farm to conduct the on-farm assessments. Second, the Novus Sales Team follows with a customized report of results and recommendations for presentation to the dairy management team. The discussion generated by the C.O.W.S. report is often enlightening for farmers and offers the opportunity to review solutions for improved well-being levels which also will contribute to the farmer's overall productivity and cost-effectiveness.

Maintaining the Pace in 2011:

During 2011 and early 2012, Novus completed C.O.W.S. assessments on 90 dairies and has provided training and education for over 40 animal feed nutritionists through training workshops for six nutrition groups, and two producer seminars.

Case Studies Prove Results:

In a farm in upstate New York, the C.O.W.S. Assessment Report of 2010 played an integral part in a producer convincing his business partners and banker that a change to his free-stalls was needed to improve cow comfort on his farm. A C.O.W.S. re-assessment was completed in 2011 to quantify these improvements and the results demonstrated incredible improvements in key well-being parameters, includes a reduction in overall costs to the farmer and increased dairy cow sales. These improvements were the result not only of specific changes made on the farm, but of a heightened general awareness of well-being needs as a result of the C.O.W.S. assessment.

C.O.W.S. Assesment in a New York Farm, 2010-2011, Before and After

C.O.W.S. assessment

"Together we can build a strong "poster" farm for cow comfort, longevity and sustainability, all of which is already so important to us and has become our passion."

Josiah Garber
Owner, Spring Lawn Farms (Lancaster, PA)

Similar results were obtained in other farms that were re-assessed in 2011. For example, on another U.S. farm, overall lameness was at an unacceptably high rate of 85% in the first assessment, and this dropped to 8% in the following year after adjusting the footbath protocol and improving sanitation, among other things. In addition to cow well-being improvement, the farmer also noticed that feed efficiency improved, enabling an important reduction in overall costs.

Some of the conclusions that the Novus C.O.W.S. team reached during two years of experience with this program include the fact that many changes are simple and do not necessarily require major cash investment. Changing just one aspect of cow management relating to milk yield, reproduction, culling rates, feed efficiency, milk components, lying time, lameness, etc., can be enough to deliver a significant change to the well-being of the cow and the productivity of the farm. By helping farmers develop action plans that are self-directed, farm-specific, feasible for each dairy and often creative, Novus advances both animal well-being and sustainable food production.

Sharing C.O.W.S. Research-Based Knowledge:

Data from the C.O.W.S. assessments are used by Novus's partner in the C.O.W.S. initiative, the University of British Columbia (UBC) Animal Welfare Program. Based on the initial benchmarking data developed in first and second round assessments, two papers were presented in 2011 by Alejandra Barrientos and Dr. Nina von Keyserlingk from UBC:

2011 Joint Annual Meeting of the American Dairy Science Association and American Animal Science Association in New Orlean: This research paper presented results showing considerable variation in lameness and leg injury prevalence among freestall farms in North America. The very low prevalence of these ailments on some farms shows great opportunity for improvement on other farms.

5th International Conference on the Assessment of Animal Welfare at Farm and Group Level at the University of Guelph, Ontario: This research paper presented results showing that variation in lying behavior was associated with the risk of lameness and hock injuries on dairy farms.

Further research is ongoing and additional results will be presented in 2012, thereby advancing the body of scientific knowledge for the benefit of sustainable agriculture and promoting the value of a creative, collaborative business model. In addition, Novus has sponsored a post-doctoral researcher who is currently working at UBC with C.O.W.S. data to deliver additional knowledge and insights.

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