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Spinoff: Microchips and slaughter

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  • Spinoff: Microchips and slaughter

    This is not intended to turn into a slaughter debate. On the thread about the poor old one-eyed schoolie, there was mention that microchips are no protection against slaughter--they don't scan for chips until after the horse is killed, just to see if it could contaminate the meat.

    I had planned on getting my horse microchipped or branded, because I'm close to the Canadian border, and worry about theft. I assumed that there were laws in place (at least in the US before the slaughter ban, and in Canada) that required a slaughterhouse to check for a microchip before killing.

    If there were American slaughterhouses at the moment, I'd be trying to figure out what to do as far as getting legislation passed to check ownership on a horse brought to slaughter... but that point is moot at the moment in the US. However, does anyone know of Canadian legislation in place or being pressed for that regulates horses being shipped across the border for slaughter having to have proof of ownership, or horses at Canadian slaughterhouses being checked for chips or other proof of ownership? Considering how tight they are with paperwork for show horses crossing the border, I am really amazed--and frightened--to think that someone could steal my horse and have him across the border and on his way to slaughter in about twenty minutes.
    "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

    Graphite/Pastel Portraits

  • #2
    I'm not sure what regs exist in Canada..

    But I would say that if your intention is to identify the horse, you may be better off with a brand or tattoo, as those are more highly visible and likely to be seen.

    Even if a slaughterhouse did check for a microchip, there are a variety of brands of chips and readers, so even if they checked with one kind of reader they'd likely miss a chip from a different company.
    "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

    My CANTER blog.

    Comment


    • #3
      I've chimed in before, so here I am again. I only do freeze branding becasue it's highly visible (I keep it shaved down.) I can't imagine an auction house actually checking for microchips. The last auction my farrier went to looking for mules they had a stallion in a pen with mares ponies and geldings, I doubt they would give a toot about a microchip.
      RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

      "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."

      Comment


      • #4
        I've not had a horse stolen thank God.

        But I did have the misfortune of one getting lost. I aged about 20 years that day.... I swear.

        I don't disapprove of microchips at all... but I often think of what I would need to tell someone in order to maximize the chance of my horse being identified.

        The microchip isn't number one on my list.

        Brands and tattoos are 1 and 2 on my list. That's immediate. Easily recognizable with no special equipment or training.

        And this is pure speculation on my part..... I'm hoping that such markings would deter the opportunistic thief.

        There used to be freeze brands that were used to signify - no sale and slaughter.

        Anyone remember that company? I don't know if they are still in business... not that a brand would mean much where I live.
        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
        -Rudyard Kipling

        Comment


        • #5
          Last I heard no one asks for proof of ownership at the slaughterhouse. They unload and the horses are killed usually in hours. It's a fast and easy way to make a few $$ on a stolen horse and many a stolen horse was "found" by looking for it's hide after they were dead.

          Since slaughter horses are shipped across the borders in sealed trailers and they do not need the usual paperwork like a coggins or health certificates required by pleasure horses, there is no check there except some border person looks at the sealed truck and x number of horses and sends them through.

          I would brand if I were you and perhaps do a microchip also to confirm. Have your brand in a visible place (not under the mane) and post signs on your farm that your horses are branded and chipped to deter thieves.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hey - I found that "No Kill" brand!

            Just posting the link - didn't read about it. Don't know if it's something you can use or not.

            http://www.igha.org/brn_link.html

            home page
            http://www.igha.org/index1.html
            Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
            Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
            -Rudyard Kipling

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
              Last I heard no one asks for proof of ownership at the slaughterhouse. They unload and the horses are killed usually in hours. It's a fast and easy way to make a few $$ on a stolen horse and many a stolen horse was "found" by looking for it's hide after they were dead.
              iirc the US plants received bulletins about reported lost/stolen horses and were supposed to be sure those animals were not in the plant. iirc that procedure wasn't that successful keeping horses who had been stolen alive though.
              Honestly, if the horse ends up at the plant I would not hold out hope for any kind/type of brand, or chip keeping them safe.

              My horse is chipped on top of his lip tat, but he also doesn't load into trailers well nor does he like strangers [esp. men] much.... and that's the way [uh huh, uh huh] I like it.
              Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014

              http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2012/...m-a-sanctuary/

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Yeah, sometimes I wish my horse were a little less friendly and easy to load!
                "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                Graphite/Pastel Portraits

                Comment


                • #9
                  Microchips can also be simply cut out of the flesh.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    They don't microchip cattle either nor check for them and the incident of cattle theft for slaughter is really high compared to horse. IMO the best bet if you want to cut down on the odds of theft is a freeze brand. Very easy to see and ID from a distance and they stand out.
                    Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SarahandSam View Post
                      This is not intended to turn into a slaughter debate. On the thread about the poor old one-eyed schoolie, there was mention that microchips are no protection against slaughter--they don't scan for chips until after the horse is killed, just to see if it could contaminate the meat.

                      I had planned on getting my horse microchipped or branded, because I'm close to the Canadian border, and worry about theft. I assumed that there were laws in place (at least in the US before the slaughter ban, and in Canada) that required a slaughterhouse to check for a microchip before killing.

                      If there were American slaughterhouses at the moment, I'd be trying to figure out what to do as far as getting legislation passed to check ownership on a horse brought to slaughter... but that point is moot at the moment in the US. However, does anyone know of Canadian legislation in place or being pressed for that regulates horses being shipped across the border for slaughter having to have proof of ownership, or horses at Canadian slaughterhouses being checked for chips or other proof of ownership? Considering how tight they are with paperwork for show horses crossing the border, I am really amazed--and frightened--to think that someone could steal my horse and have him across the border and on his way to slaughter in about twenty minutes.
                      I have my horses freeze marked, which is different that branding. It is tied to their registration papers and listed there as well. I keep that area shaved in the winter so the mark is clearly visible from a long distance. Freeze marking is very hard, if not impossible, to alter.

                      Perhaps that is something you could check into? The marks are large but can be hidden under a mane that is 4 inches long, I prefer to keep my mares mane 3 inches so that the mark can be seen. I have had visitors to the farm and even they, not horse folk, can see the mark and usually ask me what is that white mark on your horse? Works for me until micro chipping gets better evolved.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lou-Lou View Post
                        Microchips can also be simply cut out of the flesh.
                        That'd be wildly difficult to do, except on a dead horse. I have *never* heard of a horse being checked for a chip at slaughter. Considering slaughter is now outside of our US borders, there is no way of enforcing our regulations outside our border....

                        I think Microships are a good idea. They are cheap, and good in cases of natural disaster, when you may loose your paperwork showing proof of ownership and some may claim you well broke horse as their own.

                        But, as big of a fan chipping as I am, I have never looked for a chip in a horse. I have never seen a horse chipped, although we do plan on doing ours and offering that to local horse owners.

                        A brand is no sure bet. I have seen the brand inspectors ID a horse before a sale that they were well aware was not owned by the person who dropped him off claiming ownership. They sold the horse anyway (and would not send the proceeds to the owners until they showed proof of where the brand had come from).

                        I know the person who owned the horse, and because she was notified very quickly, she got her horse back. But she had to fight.

                        The big problem we see with brands (they are very common here) is that they vary from state to state. Kill buyers bring horses in from other states and we have no way to track them.

                        Plus, even with a brand it's hard to track the owner sometimes. And it is not specific for the horse. Large breeders may have no way of finding which horse we've ID'd.

                        I don't think Freezebrands are the solution, either. Great that you keep yours clipped, but say someone takes your horse for a winter and doesn't? Say the horse is seen, but it's an unusual freezebrand (i.e. not a BLM or Arabian) and the person, like me, walking through the feedlot does not know how to interpret it.

                        My #1 solution would be a nationwide freezebrand, like the HA (which never seemed to catch on), as well as microchipping. That way, we can easily and quickly know that horse is not supposed to go to slaughter, and hopefully ID him quickly from the chip.

                        I have heard in Europe the horse's passport is always with them. Sadly our laws and regulations (like not shipping horses for slaughter out of CA) are routinely and blatantly broken, so I doubt having paperwork follow a horse will ever be enforceable here....

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Freeze branding is sounding like the best bet... I wanted to go with microchipping instead because of the pain issue, and may still microchip for identification, but I think I will look into freeze branding. Because I want to show hunters... I'm guessing probably somewhere covered by the saddle is my best bet? Maybe withers or ribs? Anyone know what might be a less painful area that isn't visible under tack?
                          "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                          Graphite/Pastel Portraits

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There's no perfect way to protect your horse. While the dog pounds here are now checking for chips, in Hinesville near the military base a dog was turned in to be euth-ed. The procedure there is to run dogs and cats for the chips and that dog turned out to have been lost in NYC 6 yrs before. Great reunion for the now teenage girl and her dog.

                            It's hard to protect horses as the tattoo on an ottb is hard to read (took me 4 or 5 tries to get Callie's right with the jockey club.) Plus TBs aren't re-registered each time they are sold. Cloudy's German brand won't find me as just like Jockey club papers, he's not re-registered each time he's sold and his brand and 2 #s of his life # will only narrow the field of horses to a few hundred.

                            So it's microchipping for me. Just make sure if you move or you change your phone # that you log on and notify the company. (I used Home Again but there are several more now.)

                            If there were permanent neck brands like in England, I'd probably go for that also.

                            I'm hoping for a GPS device to be so miniturized that I can have that implanted, and know where he is by logging on the computer.

                            Prior to microchipping, I had all my dogs and cats tattooed on their abdomens at the time of spaying/altering with "reward" and my dln. Any cop could run my license #, which had the state also, and find me. Plus I thought the idea of a reward would make someone check it out. I still have a few of those very old animals around.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              One of my horses is microchipped (the other was going to be, but ended up needing to be treated for Lyme, and I figured better spend the microchip money than my savings ). SHe's not chipped to keep her from being shipped to slaughter - I don't think there's any way of preventing that other than responsible ownership and the good luck of avoiding thieves - but so that in the event of the Great Escape or a natural disaster (or a manmade disaster, I suppose, though I don't live in an area where that's likely) a rescue or public agency is more likely to be able to get her back to me.

                              I did it in the aftermath of Katrina, when I read of the success rescues had reuniting owners with microchipped horses.

                              If it wasn't such a pain to get a freeze brand, I'd do that, too (she's an Arab, so I'd get the standard Arab formula ), but again, I don't think that's a deterrent to slaughter - though it may make a thief more likely to take the unbranded horse next door instead.

                              I also have a set of pics of each horse from both sides plus front and back, along with close-ups of all their distinguishing markings (which include whorls, scars, and, in my TB's case, the funny dent in his butt muscle under his tail ). THAT, I think, is my best protection against slaughter: that in ten minutes I could have a detailed flyer made up with GOOD photos to take/send to every horse and law enforcement place in the area (and beyond). It's still no guarantee, but I figure it's a fighting chance.

                              Which reminds me that I should really get a new set of pics of my girl this summer - the last ones are a couple of years old, and though the markings are the same she definitely looks different at 6 than she did at 4.
                              Proud member of the EDRF

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by SarahandSam View Post
                                Freeze branding is sounding like the best bet... I wanted to go with microchipping instead because of the pain issue, and may still microchip for identification, but I think I will look into freeze branding. Because I want to show hunters... I'm guessing probably somewhere covered by the saddle is my best bet? Maybe withers or ribs? Anyone know what might be a less painful area that isn't visible under tack?
                                Freeze branding is not supposed to be very painful at all. In a lot of other countries where it is more common to freeze brand, it is done near the withers so it can be covered by the saddle during shows, as in these 2 examples:

                                http://www.dkimages.com/discover/previews/778/85175.JPG

                                http://www.essexhorsewatch.org.uk/Holly1.jpg
                                Flickr

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Good idea with the photographs, Kementari... I've got good photos of my horse from all angles with all his markings, and his face whorl, but I should look for other distinguishing marks to photograph too.

                                  It's not that I think my horse is exceptionally high risk, and he's under a reasonable amount of anti-theft protection (not like any of that really makes a difference to a determined thief) but I just find it really scary that you can have a horse microchipped, branded, tattooed, the whole nine yards--and there's still no real safeguards in place to protect him once he's stolen. The fact that nobody cares about the ownership of horses going to slaughter, either when they cross the border or at the slaughterhouse, is pretty darn terrifying.
                                  "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                                  Graphite/Pastel Portraits

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I'm for freeze brand and chipping. But I think what would really work is brand that signifies reward if horse returned. I can't figure out the logistics of that though, money put in a CD that you can earn interest on, its guaranteed (govt backed) but you can't withdraw it?
                                    But then again, I think every horse should have a euthanasia deposit required at purchase, so a horse can be put down humanely at the end of its life.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I once spoke with reps from the slaughter house. He said brand them visibly. He said if a report comes in to find a bay horse with a white sock...how many are there. You add to that "with a R brand on left hip" much more likely to recover horse.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by SarahandSam View Post
                                        Freeze branding is sounding like the best bet... I wanted to go with microchipping instead because of the pain issue, and may still microchip for identification, but I think I will look into freeze branding. Because I want to show hunters... I'm guessing probably somewhere covered by the saddle is my best bet? Maybe withers or ribs? Anyone know what might be a less painful area that isn't visible under tack?
                                        There have been several studies that showed little to no stress with freeze branding. I would get mine done if I had a way to get them to any of the clinics they set up to freeze brand (not being able to drive makes that tough).
                                        Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                                        Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com

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