Friday, 2 September 2011

The RSPCA Report on Hot Branding

We have had some very good news! The RSPCA have announced the official results of the study about equine identification methods (and particularly hot branding) that they commissioned last year. We were very pleased to have been able to contribute to this study as we had been able to submit a great deal of evidence to support our case against hot branding. The results show very clearly that they now consider hot branding to be unacceptable for moorland equines. To have the RSPCA adding their weight to the other major welfare organisations that have spoken out against hot branding is a huge step forward to getting this practice banned in England and Wales. Hot branding was banned in Scotland in 2010.

Here is the email from the RSPCA which came two days ago. We look forward to receiving the full report later in the year.

We recently commissioned an independent report to identify the best methods to identify moorland ponies. The report was done by a specialist equine welfare scientist working at a UK university. The report considered the practical, economic and animal welfare issues surrounding the different methods of hot branding, freeze marking and microchipping.

The author engaged in consultation with a wide range of other stakeholders, including verderers, owners and vets. Thank you very much for your contribution, which was used by the author in making his recommendations.

The main conclusion of the independent report was that moorland ponies should, like other equines in the UK, have a microchip implanted for individual recognition. The author strongly recommended against the hot branding of moorland ponies. The report is in the process of being published; please provide us with contact details for us to send you a copy.

Alongside the report, the author provided us with recommendations for advice to give out on the RSPCA website, based on the independent recommendations. The website changes are being made live soon – and we wanted you to be one of the people who know about it in the first instance. The website can be found at

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