Hot horse branding to be banned in Scotland

Image caption,
Current laws allow equine branding where special permission is given

Hot branding of horses and ponies is being banned in Scotland on animal welfare grounds.

The Scottish government plans to remove an exemption in current laws allowing the practice on equine animals.

At the moment, hot branding can be carried out where specific permission is given, but ministers said no more authorisations would be granted.

The move, which needs final approval from MSPs, has been backed by the British Veterinary Association.

Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead, said new legal requirements to microchip horses meant branding them for identification purposes was no longer needed.

He added: "There is no place for hot branding in a country which prides itself on its high animal welfare credentials.

"This process is painful and involves burning and scarring sensitive tissue which can clearly cause animals unnecessary stress and pain."

Ministers decided on the ban, also backed by a number animal welfare groups, following a public consultation on the proposals.

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