Thursday, October 22, 2009

Days numbered for hot iron branding?

A recent study found that hot iron branding inflicts more pain than does inserting a microchip and concluded that the practice should be abandoned wherever possible.

The study, carried out at the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark, compared the behavioral and physiological responses of seven horses that were subjected to both hot iron branding and microchip insertion.

The researchers found that the horses showed significantly more signs of aversive behavior after hot iron branding than they did after microchip injection.

Also, hot iron branding caused significantly greater skin sensitivity around the treatment site compared with microchip injection. For 48 hours, there was significantly more heat and swelling of the skin where the hot iron branding was carried out than there was at the site of the microchip injection.

Heart rate increased at the time of branding or injection, but returned to normal quickly after the microchip injection. It remained high for five minutes after hot iron branding.

The researchers conclude that hot iron branding caused more pain than microchip injection. They recommend that hot iron branding should be abandoned if possible.


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