Hot branding of equines

BVA opposes hot branding as a method of identifying horses and ponies

Under the EU Equine Identification Regulation 504/2008 all foals born after 1 July 2009 must be microchipped as a means of identification. In addition all equidae sold or taken to slaughter must have a passport linked to its microchip. Alternative methods of identification can be used but only if they give the same scientific guarantees as a microchip.

BVA position

BVA supports the position of its British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) division that hot branding does not offer the same scientific guarantees as a microchip and should not be used as an alternative to the insertion of a microchip.

Hot branding is generally carried out without analgesia and is undoubtedly a painful process. BVA and BEVA believe that the continued use of hot branding as a means of identifying certain breeds is unacceptable and should be phased out on welfare grounds.

BVA activity

January 2010: BVA responded to the SEERAD consultation

May 2009: BVA's Ethics and Welfare Group considered the issues of hot branding

Further info

BEVA statement on hot branding

EU Commission Regulation No 504/2008

Scottish Government statement on banning hot branding of equines

University of Vienna research into the reliability of hot branding