23 January 2016
QUESTION: Why should we microchip the horse if slaughter houses do not scan for them? The same question applies to freeze branding. My horses are marked but I somehow don't think the thieves care. Please advise.
ANSWER: Thank you for your questions and concern for your horses. I try to answer questions based on what we see happening in the real world through our experience with victims.
You are right. In our opinion, professional thieves do not care about any type of ID. As far as we know, slaughter houses do not check ID outside the USA. If anyone is only concerned about a horse getting checked at a slaughter facility, then they are missing the bigger picture of why we do ID our horses. I commend you on using equine ID on your own horses. We hope you never need it. If you do, then you will be glad you have it. We have seen people find their horses, but do not get them back because they cannot prove the horse is theirs.
There are many other ways horses can disappear - theft, disaster, runaway, civil situation, to name a few. Even if a horse is on the way to Canada or Mexico, they can be positively identified by a microchip along the way if found. The microchip also traces back to the registered owner. This can come in very handy when you have to prove ownership of a horse that was found several states away from where it disappeared.
ID, specifically a microchip, is your secret weapon to prove ownership; just like your car has a VIN number. If a horse is stolen, your microchip number can go into NCIC, whereas a freeze brand cannot. Once your horse is out of the state where his brand is registered, it is nearly impossible to trace the horse back to the owner.
There is no perfect ID by itself. A combo works better. All of my horses have freeze brands, feezemarks and microchips. Two racking horses also have lip tattoos. I also have a sign displayed, informing people that my horses and equipment have ID and are traceable. Of course, I am not saying you need to do all of these types of ID. You have to pick what you think works best for you.
We’ve never had a victim who is missing a horse tell us, “I’m so glad that I didn’t ID my horse.” They are actually sad they did nothing. Many even feel guilty that they didn’t ID. We encourage everyone to choose some type of ID and mark your horse. Give your horse a chance to find their own way home should you ever be separated.
This may help you understand more about equine ID: https://netposse.com/article.asp?id=71.
Here is the microchip package (with a sign) purchased most frequently from our store: https://netposse.com/product.asp?productid=498&cat=Microchips. It is an AVID chip, which is the #1 company for microchips. There are other packages as well.
Keep in mind that we are in a transition period from the old standard (tried and true) chip to the new International chip. Transition is a very important word to remember. It means we are not fully there yet.
If you show with USEF related shows, you will need to choose the 134 kHz microchip before Jan 2017, since they are going to require this frequency to prove that your horse is in the correct class. If not, I would use the 125 kHz frequency because both the new and old universal scanners read that frequency. The older scanners, which are still widely in use, do not read the 134 kHz. All of our horses have the older chip, and we have not seen a universal scanner that will not read this chip. We cannot say that about the new chip.
I hope this has helped. Should you have any additional questions, feel free to give me a call. I am here to help.