University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Hot-iron branding hurts horses

Hot-iron branding is more painful than microchipping, reveals University of Copenhagen study

Hot-iron branding is more painful than using a microchip injection. This is according to a new study at the Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Copenhagen (U of C), as reported on the New Zealand news site Horsetalk.

European law requires horses to be individually identified, and only recently have microchip injections become more available. 5000 horses are branded each year in Denmark.

Dr Casper Lindegaard from the Department of Large Animal Sciences and others compared seven horses’ physiological and behavioural responses. The seven horses were observed under standardised conditions, and were subjected to both procedures, as well as a placebo treatment.

Recommends microchip

The procedures were filmed and assessed by four independent observers. Scientists also monitored the horses’ conditions for seven days following each treatment.

»A burn is sore with heat for a week after the branding, and the research proves that horses definitely react the most to being branded.« said Casper Lindegaard to the Danish news site DR Nyheder.

In light of the study, the researchers recommend that microchip injections replace hot-iron branding altogether.