Navigation Links
The end of an era? Branding horses does not enable them to be identified
Date:8/24/2012

There are many reasons why it is important to be able to identify farm animals, horses and small companion animals. Unique identification marks are essential for ensuring the correctness of breeding programmes, for preventing the spread of disease and for eliminating the possibility of deceit in competitions or when animals are sold. The traditional method of marking larger farm animals relies on branding with hot irons or on ear-tagging but this is deemed inappropriate for use on dogs and cats, which are identified by the implant of a microchip transponder. Until recently, horses were generally branded but following concerns that the practice is unnecessarily cruel there has been a gradual switch towards the use of microchips. Branding has essentially been discontinued in the European Union, although several countries still accept it and breed registries claim that this traditional method is perfectly satisfactory and obviates the need for costly equipment.

Comparisons between the two methods for marking horses have focused on how they are perceived by the animals: does either method cause more stress or more harm to the horse? Surprisingly, however, no attention has been paid to the other side of the coin. There is no doubt that microchips can be unambiguously decoded, providing the necessary equipment is available, but how well can brand marks be read? The issue has now been examined by Jrg and Christine Aurich of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna.

Brands on horses generally combine a symbol to indicate the particular breed with a two-digit number to identify the individual animal. To assess the readability of the markings, the researchers asked three experienced people to record the brands of about 250 horses participating in an equestrian tournament in Germany. All three testers were able to recognize the breed symbols on about 90% of the animals and for about 84% of the animals the symbol was recorded correctly by all three people. However, the situation for the two-digit numbers was dramatically different. While each of the three readers read the numbers correctly on about half of the horses, the correct number was recorded by all three of them for less than 40% of the animals.

To assess the legibility of brand marking under 'ideal' conditions, the researchers examined the markings on 28 horses that had been euthanized, in each case for reasons not related to branding. Surprisingly, the brand marks could be clearly identified on only nine of the animals, while for six horses neither the brand symbol nor the two-digit number could be deciphered even after the site of branding (generally the left thigh but in two cases the left side of the neck) had been shaved. This finding confirmed the unreliability of marking horses by branding. At the same time, the researchers naturally examined the sites where the horses had been branded for evidence of tissue damage. Nearly all of the horses had histological changes at the branding sites, consistent with having experienced a third-degree thermal injury.

Jrg Aurich sums up the results concisely. "Branding is clearly associated with local tissue damage and the markings are often insufficiently clear to be decoded, even by experienced observers or after the horse has died. There really isn't any reason to continue to mark horses in this outdated way."


'/>"/>
Contact: Prof. Joerg Aurich
joerg.aurich@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-125-077-5400
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Bend or stretch? How stressful is hyperflexion of horses necks?
2. New genomic sequencing method enables smarter anaysis of individual cells
3. Keck award enables Carnegie Mellon and Stanford to dramatically expand crowdsourced RNA design
4. Nematodes with pest-fighting potential identified
5. Unusual weather events identified during the Black Saturday bushfires
6. Target for potent first-strike influenza drugs identified
7. Skin cancer identified for the first time in wild fish populations
8. New cause of child blindness identified
9. New therapeutic target for prostate cancer identified
10. Parkinsons disease gene identified with help of Mennonite family: UBC-VCH research
11. A new indicator for breast cancer relapse identified
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/17/2017)... , April 17, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. ... company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report on Form ... Exchange Commission. ... Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section of the ... on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . 2016 ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, ... biometric identity management and secure authentication solutions, today ... million contract by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity ... technologies for IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation ... the onset and IARPA,s Thor program will allow ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... MELBOURNE, Florida , April 11, 2017 ... "Company"), a security technology company, announces the appointment of independent ... John Bendheim to its Board of Directors, furthering the ... ... behalf of NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... two-dimensional representations of a complex biological network, a depiction of a system of ... mess,” said Dmitry Korkin, PhD, associate professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... AMRI, a global ... industries to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, will now be offering ... being attributed to new regulatory requirements for all new drug products, including the ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for ... June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA ... board directors and government officials from around the world to address key issues in ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... A new study published in Fertility and ... in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The multi-center matched cohort study ... comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer cohorts, the authors of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: