Hot-Iron Branding and Its Alternatives - Final Summary

​A small number of AVMA members provided feedback on the request for input on hot-iron branding and its alternatives. All members responding found hot-iron branding to be a painful procedure and all believed there are effective methods of permanent identification that cause less pain or are less invasive. Members specifically mentioned Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)/electronic, freeze branding and OptiBrand (a retinal reader) as viable alternatives. The Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) considered this input, as well as the Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee (AALC)-recommended and Executive Board-approved revision to the policy on Livestock Identification, which retained the statement that "The AVMA recommends that a high priority be placed on using alternatives to hot-iron branding." After consideration the AWC determined the most recent policy revision adequately addressed its welfare concerns about the use of hot-iron branding for livestock identification and opted to not recommend a separate policy for adoption.