Should cattle branding be replaced with other identification technologies, like iris scanning, tattooing, tagging, etc.?


Fire branding, anyone?

Has anyone who chose "yes" to the POLL on fire branding actually ever done it? Have you seen innocent (and valuable) calves terrorized out of their wits when they were being manhandled, burned alive and yes, actually caught on fire? I have. Then you wonder why on earth are these stupid cattle so afraid of you when it comes time to vaccinate or deworm. Apart from the searing pain incurred, furthermore, it's not uncommon with poorly done brands to turn cancerous later in life. And I have not heard of a single person who claimed it doesn't hurt the animals, being willing to be fire branded themselves. Cattle, especially Texas Longhorns are smart, very smart. I know it because we work with them and saddle train them and have for years. They don't forget, and they know who their enemies are and who their friends are. There are other better ways to clearly identify ownership than fire branding. Ways that are safer for man & animal and more efficient. When animals are afraid, they get hurt and so do people. There are many benefits to using alternative ID methods. The whole concept of fire branding is nothing but a misguided and yes, cruel attempt to hang onto an old west practice. But that was then and this is now. The very same cowboys & cattlemen who refuse to give it up, because it's "tradition" -are the very same ones who wouldn't be caught dead without their airconditioned, totally modern pickup truck and cellphone.

Specializing In Champion Seed Stock & Saddle Trained Riding Steers.


I voted no on this poll. There may come a time when freeze-branding, like they do on Mustangs, is cheaper and just as efficient, and if that time comes, stockmen will adopt it on their own.

Freeze brands not necessarily an alternative

I agree that any method more efficient should be adopted by stockmen themselves. No practice should ever become mandated because someone not effected directly feels it is barbaric or outdated. I do not agree however that freeze brands are necessarily more efficient. In terms of the labor and facilities necessary to apply a legible freeze brand the process is tedious. The animal is put in a squeeze chute, shaved, sprayed with alcohol, then branded for at least 30 seconds. I have branded thousands of cattle this way and I'll tell you it is very time consuming. A clean white freeze brand looks great, however, a rustler can spray paint over the brand to buy him some time. This is a reason why some states will not recognize a freeze brand.

It seems to me that these

It seems to me that these days there is an increasing number of people and by that I also mean 'professionals' who feel it necessary to get involved in things that don't really involve them but help justify their existence and living. If there truely was a better efficient method of identififcation then every one would be free to adopt it in their own way. The reality is, there isnt and the old traditional method has worked for hundreds of years and I agree it's part of the tradition of a way of life. The inhumane argument of branding irons is flawed, other methods will inflict just as much momentary pain to the animal. In any case, it's life, we all experience pain, it's not brutality, we love these animals and if you think it is you need to wake up and live in the real world..


Branding is our identity, literally

You people in the 25% that think branding is cruel, clearly have no comprehension, understanding or logic behind anything concerning a large scale cow calf operation. I'm shocked that any of you would have a subscription to, or buy a magazine off of the stand that says "American Cowboy" you obviously don't embrace any of the western traditions. I would love to see this "college professor" (not stated what he teaches, something in the liberal arts department would be my first guess) running every stray calf through a squeeze chute scanning an implant, temple tag, ear tag with a bar code, retina ECT. Brands can be identified from a distance, are permanent, cost effective and clearly state what is yours. It's also been my observations that people that criticize branding, have never had any experience with livestock, owning a hollestien leppie calf in the suburbs dosen't count. Show me a method more effective than gathering and holding herd in pastures measured in sections where a neighbor can ride into the herd, sort calves with his brand, and trail them home. Find anything more traditional than neighboring ranch families coming together to help each other, have a few laughs, show off some roping and horsemanship skills, let their kids play with each other, and have a barbeque following all the work. If this is what "Professor" Rollin calls "raucous behavior" than clearly he lives a very dull life. Some of my fondest memories growing up were in a branding trap. The branding is one of the cowboy and cattlemen’s most embraced traditions, if the branding is lost all traditions might as well be lost.


I think we should send Mr. Rollin from CSU out in a drizzling rain with his retinal scanner to sort 7 strays out of 350 steers in a 1000 ac. pasture. Be good for his character.

Finding worthy blogs is not

Finding worthy blogs is not easy now and it's a pleasure to run across your site. As they say one cannot be too careful. It must be admitted that your explanation is very easy to take in. I am sure that most of your observations are true.
Custom Caps

Cattle Branding

"Branding is a cruel, 19th century anachronism." Branding has been around since before the time of Christ. Many slaves were branded in ancient times to demonstrate ownership. Also, many soldier were branded to show their loyalty to their general or the Roman emperor.

I am against the NAIS which was the government's proposal to require microchips in every animal. And you could not move the animal (to a show, to another pasture) unless you had government's permission.

It has been tabled for now, but government has a way of bringing up things later when they think opposition has waned.

Cattle have thick hides and

Cattle have thick hides and are a bit tougher than you and me. Branding is a remnant of the old west, a tradition we should want to hang on to.


You are correct that cattle have thick hides and I agree with you that the pain is minimal.

However, branding goes back before the time of Christ.

Have a great day!


personally we use tattoos and ear tags but ear tags can be ripped off.sure we have a branding iron but the last time i used it i branded the fence posts.


thats to bad for you. i remember as a young kid wanting to be a cowboy like my dad,brother,granddad,great granddad,you get the point. i remember back then the real hands used 60 and 70 ft riatas, it took a hell of a hand and horse to drag cattle to the fire, sliding rope and makin that horse work to perfection as not to hurt the cattle. And when they got there how all of us kids would race to the brandin pot to get the iron. its not just about ownership and identification, i remember how proud i was to see are brand, a sign of hard work and dedication and caring for those animals. branding has been around for thousands of years. cattle are our way of life and when your sole income is based on that what since would it make to abuse the animal.none. this is a no brainer. oh yeah tagging is used a lot these days but have you ever noticed that just about everybody that uses tags also brand their funny they brand not tattooing. and microchips are u serious any large scale outfit would be out of buisiness in short order.time is money and the latter is usually hard to come by especially these days. long live cowboys and their traditions

Amen I couldn't have said it

I couldn't have said it better. The tradition and pride of ownership is so important. There is nothing like seeing the same fresh clean brand that has been handed from generations on fat healthy calf. I especially liked the part about the old timers using old vaquero skills with slick horns, reatas, and pride in the refinement of their horses. Very valuable traditions all the way around!! Kudos to you!!!

Know How - Hitch up a team - Feb-Mar 2012 issue

The drawing is simple but shortsighted. The near horse is shown without a pole strap, breast strap, and quarter straps. Without these items on the harness the team has no way to keep the wagon from running upon them. Explanation of the "braking system" works up to a assumes that readers know what a pole strap, breast strap, and quarter straps are. In my neck of the woods several folks would try to harness by picture and build in a big wreck first thing.

Copyright ©2013 Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc. an Active Interest Media company. All rights reserved.