I recently read an article discussing how much stress permanent identification causes horses. The study compared the stresses of hot branding to micro-chipping. I’m all for permanent means of identifying horses in order to make it easier to get them back if they are ever separated from their owners and found this article interesting.
The article published by The Horse and written by Christa Leste-Lasserre measured foals heart rates, skin temperature, cortisol levels, and general physical reactions when they were hot branded and microchipped. Interestingly enough, the reactions and relative stress level were about the same.
I was surprised by this – I’ve always heard the horror stories from hot branding and thought that implanting a microchip would be much easier on an animal. My only concerns is that this was a very small study, only 14 horses, and I’m curious why they didn’t study freeze branding as well. Everything I’ve read about freeze branding makes it sound the most humane.
If you are interested in reading the article for yourself, click here: http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=19025