Veterinarian says ranchers should reconsider cattle branding


980 CJME News (Canada)

August 05, 2019


Regina / A longtime veterinarian wants beef producers to reconsider whether they really need to brand their cattle anymore.


On The Greg Morgan Morning Show this week, Roy Lewis said branding is becoming an outdated practice but still persists in some cases.


ďBig ranges where cattle can get mixed, things like community pastures where different owners run together, thatís where itís still in vogue,Ē Lewis said.


Lewis recently wrote a column in Alberta Farmer Express in which he argued that branding is no longer necessary in most cases. RFID tags are better, most herds arenít mixed and, if needed, cattle can be identified through DNA testing, he wrote.


On top of that, branding is painful for the animal, he said, although there are products that can be used to dull the pain.


ďI just wanted producers to start thinking of ways where they donít have to do it. Maybe itís a select group of animals (or) maybe itís the steer calves theyíre not keeping for a long time,Ē Lewis said.


ďThat coupled with pain control methods on the ones that are branded and also coupled with these other forms of identification, hopefully down the line we will get something thatís permanent.Ē


He added there hasnít been much research into the pain response of freeze branding.


In his view, tradition is the main reason why producers still brand their cattle...