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:4/11/2017)... No two people are believed to ... York University Tandon School of Engineering and Michigan ... partial similarities between prints are common enough that ... and other electronic devices can be more vulnerable ... in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication systems feature ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... KEY FINDINGS The global market ... CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. ... for the growth of the stem cell market. ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell market is segmented ... The stem cell market of the product is segmented ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... -- Trends, opportunities and forecast in this market to ... AFIS, iris recognition, facial recognition, hand geometry, vein recognition, ... industry (government and law enforcement, commercial and retail, health ... and by region ( North America , ... , and the Rest of the World) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/15/2017)... , ... September 15, 2017 , ... ... closed what it calls an ‘Internal Seed B’ round of financing, totaling $600,000. ... and was completed using a ‘SAFE’ documentation structure at a company valuation of ...
(Date:9/14/2017)... , ... September 14, 2017 , ... ... minds in pharma and biotech at the third annual DrugDev Summit, November 7-8, ... brings together the world’s most progressive clinical research leaders for best practice case ...
(Date:9/14/2017)... ... , ... Boston Strategic Partners, Inc. (BSP), a life-sciences and ... Research (HEOR) and ‘big data’ to provide in-depth analysis of pneumonia patients characteristics, ... trillion with nearly 1/3 spent on hospitalizations. BSP has access to real-world data ...
(Date:9/14/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... September 14, 2017 , ... One of ... on Saturday, Sept. 16. , For six hours that day, the GenCure Marrow Donor ... at more than 30 H-E-B grocery stores in San Antonio. , The registration tables ...
Breaking Biology Technology: