Horse Identification Riles Up Readers

More than 1,600 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "Should some form of permanent identification be required for every horse in the United States?"

results of poll on permanent horse identification

Results were as follows: 

  • No 64.32% (1,042)
  • Yes 26.60% (431)
  • Not sure 9.07% (147)

Readers shared their opinions on the controversial subject in the comments below.

Results of weekly polls from TheHorse.com are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter. Published every week, this e-newsletter offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters using the form above or on our e-newsletter page.  

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  • Don't need the government dictatiing what we do. Most people have a way of identifying their horses
  • i definitely wantly horse microchipped, however I don't know how practical it is for ALL
  • Government has already banned horse slaughter, why do they want to ID?
  • NONE YA!!!!!
  • At what cost, would a national data base be available to prevent thefts, standard type of ID, etc?
  • Any form of NAIS is unacceptable. The USDA has fried to fool us in the past, fool me once same on you
  • if an owner wants to permanently ID their horse(s), they already have that option.
  • For what purpose? My horses are pets, & of no concern to the government.
  • No NAIS EVER!
  • Absoflikkinglutely not! No mandatory ID, no how no way! And while you're at it stick NAIS up your..
  • this is NAIS again....
  • It depends on how it is done. I kind of like the idea but worry about consequences
  • This is just NAIS all over again
  • No NAIS, in any form!!
  • Though it would help stop theft and disease spread I think it should be up to owner
  • This smacks of NAIS, a bad idea whose time has NOT come!
  • Cost prohibitive, government invasive, ORWELLIAN!
  • "required" turns me off
  • A coggins test is sufficent.
  • Why? Money?!...If you want your horse chipped then buy it,if you don't-then so be it.
  • I do not support NAIS or microchips. ID papers with pictures should be good.
  • Far to burdensome for the results. Let owners decide for themselves.
  • steal my girlfriend not my horse!
  • Big Brother - The Coggins Test is already a stupid idea to force people to have a test done to move.
  • It should be up to the indidual
  • There are WAY to many people to whom their horses are pets, backyard friends, going nowhere.
  • The horse is not a meat animal in the US, large numbers do not move from state to state
  • I am in opposition to USDAs National Animal ID System for equines.
  • Humans will then be next
  • completely unnecessary!
  • Required is bad, voluntary is good
  • We don't need any more big brother
  • Equine owners are responsible for their own horses. More control is not needed.
  • I have a 26 yo TB I've asked my vet numerous times to place a chip. In GA. she says NO.
  • NO -- Keep Big Brother out of my barn!
  • This is wrong in too many ways to discuss in 100 characters!
  • why in the ---does anybody want to know?it couldn't be for a good reason
  • tattoos and brands should be just fine. If it requires a "premise ID" tell them to shove it.
  • A horse needs a name. That's it.
  • no unpapered horse would drive the cost for those who just want to ride
  • If a breed registry wants to require it fine. Otherwise stay out of my barn and my business.
  • Horses are sold and givin away all the time, what would a permanent identification do for any horse.
  • NO!! Encourage owners to brand or freezemark, but NO to Big Brother!!
  • it is too dangerous to the health of the horse and the freedom for the wrangler!
  • Absolutely not! The govt has no busniess forcing me to register my property (horse). It's not theirs
  • Microchips will be required for all animals raised "for meat". Say NO to microchips for horses!
  • You alrady have one with the new photo EIA test in use by some veternarians now. Photo EIA's
  • NO NO NO!!! What don't they understand. We don't want it. We don't need it. We can't afford it. NO
  • (H) NO !!!!!!!
  • this should be the owners chioce!
  • Of course! Helps identify and recover stolen animals AND identify deadbeats that would dump animals.
  • Chips cause cancer?EVERy chipped animal I have had got cancer NO, NO,NO
  • mark of the beast not on my beast
  • The issue is mandatory and reporting every move.
  • no way
  • This is bullchit and a way to begin marking us all
  • Just another way for Gvmt to control who does/owns what
  • ridiculous!
  • Bureaucratic boondoggle!
  • It should be optional, like it is now. If you want a permanent ID for your horse your can get one.
  • There is no reason to track horses via NAIS, or similar, just another means of control
  • my animals are NOT part of the "national herd" We are not socialists!
  • Ownership is proprietary. If an owner wishes to tag, that's OK. Everything else is UN crap.
  • I do not find it necessary have govn. control animal id,
  • Why? For what purpose?
  • it starts w/ animals, we (humans) will be next
  • This is a personal choice for an individual's use.
  • That should be a decision for the owner to make.
  • Horses have marks used for Coggins ID & Jockey Club already enough!
  • It would solve several issues including theft, EIA and disease control
  • I want to protect my privacy
  • that's ridiculous!!
  • Insane
  • More big government control, more invasion of privacy, more spending and more taxes. SHAME! SHAME!
  • I agree Horses should be ID's, but not for the government!!! Ownership verification in case of theft
  • what ever happend to the land of the free?
  • Most horses already have a premanant ID..tatoo's and such
  • nor for any livestock - there is already adequte monitoring in feedlots for animals meant for food
  • No because I know where this is headed in the near future. it is just a way around NAIS
  • without the owners free, uncoerced choice? Why isn't there a option in your poll: Hell, NO!
  • The government/usda needs to stay out of our lives!
  • I do not support permamnent ID if it supports NAIS. Tattoos etc may be OK, but chipping is harmful.
  • NO< NO< NO>. You will be next...what to you think the Census is?
  • HELL NO!!!!
  • One more stupid government control measure.
  • I am against ANY mandatory program.
  • So that horses meant for slaughter could be rescued by a former owner who lost track of it.
  • Identification of all horse's makes a lot of sense.
  • Not needed
  • horses are not part of any food chain the the USA, & do NOT pass on illnesses to animals or humans.
  • Should be an owner decision-not gov't.!
  • Downsize all government budgets. Let the people who want it pay for it. I don't want my tax money
  • it already cost a lot of money just to get a horse registered with the DNA test, more money for foal
  • We live in the USA not Russia this is a waste of our resources no no no no no
  • Breed registries require DNA for registration in many cases. That should be ID enouth.
  • if the racing industry wants it ok, if the breeders ass. wants it ok. don't make me pay for them
  • NAIS benefits corp ag on our backs!
  • The very notion is utterly ridiculous.
  • This is simply to enable th eindentification of horses slated for the slaughterhouse/foreign markets
  • Another example of the government getting into things that are noe of its business!!!!!
  • Putting a chip in your horse does not mean the goverment is tracking you.
  • not no, but hell no! Angry voter!
  • it would without a doubt cut down on horse thefts
  • y should you ask for permission to own your animal???What next??? Don't let them do this to you!
  • A requirement should only come from organizations by vote of the organization, not federal.
  • Animal ID does not stop diseases. Google R-Calf for ideas that will help.
  • Hell NO
  • A national ID system for horses would accomplish nothing beneficial to the average horseowner.
  • We have enough government intervention in our lives! No, no, no!
  • No form of NAIS should be allowed for animals. It has not worked in ANY other countries that have es
  • This is just one more instance of Government attempting to control the public.
  • NEVER! Who's going to pay for this? Some people are barely paying feed bills as it is.
  • More money for government intervention to provide NO benefits
  • no it is the Gov. sticking its nose in where it does not belong. why don't they QUIT.
  • Let every horse owner decide for themselves. We don't need more enforcements and fines and licenses
  • Yes, like Carfax!
  • As an educated sporthorse owner, I've not seen any valid data to justify permanent identification.
  • I do not trust a government mandate and as soon as they start counting it they start taxing it.
  • Big Brother has enough to mess up without being involved in horse ownership!
  • I vote no because I don't want the government making a data base to use for other purposes like taxes
  • The federal government has NO RIGHTS to do this.
  • The location oand the population of my livestock is my business
  • NO. This is the U.S. not a dictatorship or under communist rule. We retain our rights to decide.
  • ARE YOU LISTENING??? NO, NO, NO. Keep Government OUT of my private life.
  • There is NO need for this at all!
  • BUT - there need to be a uniform system. R.W. - Texas
  • our mustangs are freeze branded, one has a chip
  • more global government intervention
  • Another government scam to get our money!!!!
  • Absolutely not! People must be free to choose!
  • This should be up to the owner, not the Federal or State Governments
  • Would love to see it happen, I know it's impossible.
  • I think it should be voluntary as it is with house pets. I believe in it for cats and dogs.
  • We don't need Big Brother
  • The cost places an undue burden on individuals who own horses for pleasure.
  • We don't need any form of national ID for any animal. No NAIS in ANY form, including the "new" plan.
  • This is an absurd waste of resources.
  • Horses are personal property; let government stay out of it.
  • And a big big NO at that! we know r horses better than the Fed!
  • required costs take away from some of the simple pleasures in life
  • Registries are enough
  • It wouild be a nightmare to do, with all the non-registered horses. Big Brother ?
  • absolutely not
  • NO GOVERNMENT INTRUSION
  • USDA needs to decide if they are livestock or companion animals before trying to ID them.
  • Strongly opposed to RFIDs as they have not been adequately tested for safety and are too costly.
  • voluntary not mandatory
  • Stop wasting our tax dollars trying to redefine the meaning of "NO".
  • Common sense says they don't need it when so many are registered or branded anyway!!
  • If all horses traveling across state lines are included imagine the $$ burden to the equine industry
  • NO NAIS, NO WAY
  • A tattoo will work, and provide enough information.
  • my horses are micro chiped
  • I suggest microchipping and the govt can get off our backs.
  • As it isn't food animal existing methods good enough
  • I can see this becoming another government sponsored nightmare for horse owners
  • That should be the owner's choice, not the Government's.
  • I do not need the gov tracking my horses every move!
  • REDICULOUS! Just more ways to spend money for the small farmer and pet owner. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
  • Not practical, nor economical for the average equine competitor/enthuiast
  • Keep your Butt out of my BARN!
  • Not necessary and expensive. An invasion of people's privacy.
  • This new approach is still the same old NAIS just under a new name, and the answer is still NO! NO!
  • Say NO to Big Brother getting his hands on our horses!
  • No Obama-chips in my horse
  • If the racing industry wants it they should pay for it themselves for their horses.
  • enforse current laws ( EIA testing at sales for one) first!!!
  • I do not want the government telling me what I can and can not do with my horses!
  • It's a waste of money and
  • no purpose, too expensive to set up maintain
  • Government get practical and leave recreatioanl horse owners alone.
  • NO WAY!!!!
  • For racing to improve security. Not required for other disciplines
  • No more government interference,
  • It should be the owner's choice.
  • microchipping is good. I hate having to carry paperwork.
  • would help lessen theft
  • It would help keep track of all the horses and the age & heritage
  • Its NAIS.. A lot of unnecessary cort for the average horse owner.. With minimal benefit..
  • Why would YOU think that is a good idea? Leave my horse alone. And go chip yourself.
  • There are programs already put in place for the movement of horses around the US
  • But the government should NOT be involved in tracking the horses
  • There should be an ID, but only to track ownership and current stable location
  • NO NAIS
  • This goes against our Consitutional rights, plus there is already brand inspection, coggins, ect
  • We have brands and coggins testing. Who needs to spend that kind of money for scanners and chips????
  • no way- if someone wants to do it themselves fine , but leave me alone!
  • MY horses are MY property and NOT the governements. If ID goes on them, it'll be for MY use.
  • already have DNA. don't need anymore
  • it is invasive, expensine, & unnecessary
  • Not fair to pleasure and show horse folks.
  • There is no need to microchip recreational use horses.
  • We already have the best disease tracking system in the world. More would just waste money.
  • we don't need big brother involved in personal business
  • It is unConstitutional for any level of government to require permanent ID of personal property.
  • The methods we currently use work!
  • it could not only help locate stolen horses but allow former owners to save horses sent to slaughter
  • But, I'm afraid it will be to costly for us poor owners.
  • It would help put an end to many problems.
  • I guess it is a matter of personal preference. I have one of my horses ID & about the get the other
  • My horses are mico chipped and freeze branded I do not want them stolen
  • Permanent Id may help in theft cases, but do we want to sign up for more Governmental control?
  • All my horses have microchips and freeze branding for my peace of mind.
  • NO. Uncle Sam has his hand in too many things now.
  • Not mandatory! No NAIS in any way, shape or form!!!
  • There are enough registries already to track our horses.
  • Wild horses should be exempt
  • should be available but not required.
  • There is no good reasons for giving the government tracking ability for recreational riders
  • I can see this being done on certain horses, such a racing, show horses etc. But a lot of horses are
  • I think it should be optional.
  • I would want it for my horse, wouldn't you???
  • Show horses and others that travel a lot should be subject to ID system for disease control
  • We have enough government regulation - permanent ID should be voluntary
  • due to peoplestealing horse or even dumping equines and selling them at a auction
  • It should be voluntary.
  • Might be a good theft deterrent.
  • This requirement will take away from American's right to personal privacy.
  • What?! We're in NAZI Germany now? NO ID!!!!!
  • I am not sure. Why would this help? Who pays the costs of keeping up with registrations and deaths?
  • Microchipping is the answer!
  • As a barn owner, I need to protect my horses from contagious disease and this would help.
  • not practical or enforceable
  • This just a precursor to human ID programs. Anti govt intrusion into my life
  • This is a hard question if you are talking about the NAIS. Allot of people are split on this issue.
  • i think so. If something ever comes up, we need 2 know exactly who this horse is.
  • Something standard, rather than a different inspection certificate in each state.
  • I wld only do it to find my horse if lost or stolen.
  • Something that does not disfigure the horse, but is easy to use for identification purposes.
  • Available, yes - required - no
  • Only if it will benefit the horses somehow, not the government
  • The ID everything concept has gone too far.
  • Are you out of your mind?
  • There is NO valid reason my three pleasure horses need an ID. It will not bio-secure my community.
  • Just got my horse micro-chipped easy on the horse ande reaSONABLE
  • If required on horses, where does it end? Cats, dogs, humans...
  • It would also make it easier to identify stolen horses.
  • preferably a microchip
  • It shouldn't be required but it should be easy, inexpensive and uniform (e.g., natl govt registry)
  • Absolutely not; only if the owner wants it
  • then an owner can be blamed for sending that horse to slaughter
  • NO to NAIS too!
  • We do not need govermental regulation
  • If they can microchip dogs and cats-why not horses
  • Should be VOLUNTARY, like micro-chipping dogs.
  • It's impossible! who will maintain the databse? Our tax dollars will just end up payig for it.
  • no more governement
  • I view it as a first step to the kind of ID system in the EU with drug info for slaughter houses. NO
  • Not more Regulation!
  • none of the governments business
  • Only if an owner sees it necessary.
  • Less government, not more! Absolutely NOT!
  • if for NO other reason, than to hold irresonsible owners accountable/or original owners recovery
  • Good idea, but how to get a common system?
  • Absolutely YES. And health/vaccination and ownership records, too.
  • perfect for id horses and their owners during a natural disaster colletion action and stolen horses
  • i would say yes as long as its not painful to the horse
  • that depends on whether you mean ID on the horse, or paper id
  • This will lead to increased government control & tax on horses
  • You have to be kidding.....
  • It would deter theft, help track disease outbreaks, help track slaughtered horses
  • first the animals - then us! people.....wake-up...its all about the CONTROL..
  • that's more gov't inyrusion
  • We need to keep government out of horse ownership!!!
  • This would prevent a lot of horses slaughtered o rsold on the black market
  • No. It's just one more excuse to apply another tax and more government control.
  • NO! NO! NO! They just want to tax you on your horses.
  • If an owner is smart, their horse(s) will be permanently marked. But to require this? No.
  • no becuz somehow the government would get involved
  • Permanent ID would deter horse thieves & allow lost horses to be safely returned to their owners.
  • Burdensome overkill.
  • Too much Gov. regulation already!
  • to prevent theft
  • I will BNIOT
  • maybe stollen horses wouldnt be sold to the slaughter yards without identification see.
  • just as micro chipping should be required for household pets the same should br required for horses,
  • at owner's discretion
  • Microchipping is cheap!
  • It should remain a personal choice-not a requirement
  • Yes, because theft has increased
  • An abandoned horse could be traced to the previous owners and that could help prevent abandonment.
  • This would mean more government in our business.
  • The people of the United States are over governed as it is without more unnecessary laws .
  • Cost and logistics make it super hard to doo this---who is going to keep track of it all?
  • No NAIIS
  • TOO MANY REGULATIONS ALREADY! ENOUGH, already. NO.
  • If mandated by law, owner should not have the burden of cost ever.
  • I microchiped my horse. Now I can rest knowing that I can prove he is mine
  • Absolutely. I wrote and article for the Chronicle referring to need.
  • It couldn't hurt & in MANY ways help locate a horse.
  • It should be a matter of choice - too much gov't intervention!
  • horrible invasion of privacy liberal big govt. thinking
  • Race horses, maybe & really expensive horses, but otherwise - no.
  • All my animals (pets included) are micro-chipped.
  • This could force irresponsible owners to take responsibility; may discourage backyard breeding...
  • If you think licenses are good go see the California department of motor vehicles
  • NO! Just another waste of my taxpayer dollars!!!!
  • Just another version of NAIS
  • If the owner decides to microchip his/her horse for event recovery reasons, that is fine.
  • Lip Tatoos or Micro Chips as long as the Chips can be read easily
  • Just like dogs, if you want to fine but it should NOT be required.
  • Required, absolutely not. I recommend it for show or breeding animals for ID purposes only.
  • This way when horses are sent to auction they can be re-rescued
  • NO! it's a mess in the cattle world.
  • Nwxt, we'd be taxed on them.Gov. can't get our $$ fast enough now.
  • Should some form of permanent id be required of every idiot that thinks of these ideas ?
  • Helpful for identifying stolen horses
  • There is no 100% safe, pain free ID, not to mention additional cost - time to tell Big Brother NO!!!
  • If my horse was stolen I'd want to be able tofind him and then prove that he was mine! Not easy now
  • it should be encouraged, not required
  • BLM uses cold-branding. ID'ing every horse is huge expense & hard to track.
  • microchips are reasonable priced and help with the recovery if the horse is ever lost or stolen.
  • not every one could afford it, let them use that money to care for them instead
  • We already have too much government oversight
  • Not EVERY horse, but show, race, & event horses, sure.
  • And slaughter houses should be required to check a master list before slaughter is allowed
  • CHIPPING WOULD BE GREAT, BUT FIRST LETS GET THEM ALL FED AND CARED FOR BEFORE ID MONEY IS REQUIRED
  • it's up to the owner not the goverment to decide
  • absolutely NOT government already controls more than it should- not to mention the expense
  • It should be required that horses be checked for I.D. at shelters, sales, auctions
  • While there are good arguments for permanent ID, it's more red-tape government intrusion.
  • I think horses should be like cars and have a pink slip as they change owners.
  • Help track horses for transfer of disease and to recover through theft
  • Big brother is in my life too much now.
  • Enough with Big Brother!
  • yes, to some extent
  • Licensing should be mandatory, with breeders paying a higher fee.
  • I think it should be on a voluntary basis.
  • All should have a UELN number that never changes.
  • At least micro-chip. Responsible thing to do.
  • I can understand why but I can not gree on the basis that a horse is still livestock not a pet!
  • Chipping would be nice.
  • Very difficult to enforce and control
  • Are you crazy!?!
  • NO animal ID, if you want to, ok, but do not force it on us.
  • required is key word -registered horses are already identified
  • should be optional
  • that shouldbe the owners decision as it would be an additional vet expense or owner expense
  • there is already way to much gov't. involvement
  • standardized microchiping
  • Requiring it for every horse is overkill. It should be solely up to the owner.
  • the owners should decide
  • Forced ID is taking away our American Freedom, one step at a time, one process at a time.
  • For competitive horse, yes, but others, definitely not.
  • What is the purpose? If it's to require licensing like dogs, forget it!
  • Cost? Purpose? I think not.
  • can't really understand the need for it
  • It may be nice for insurance and assurance, but too big brother.
  • Horses are not food animals in North America
  • CEM, piro both great illustrations
  • we have our coggins...it should be a national thing and not a state to state basis.
  • No, Cause it would just cause more people to pay out more money in an already depressed economy
  • But every horse that ends up at auction should be screened for ID
  • How invasive can the govt get?
  • branding or freeze branding, more visible
  • Concerned about what form the ID would take and possible health impact of microchipping.
  • NO!NO!NO! Stopinvaiding our privacy!!!!!
  • it would be good if the world were perfect. its a bad idea in this world
  • photo passport and DNA identified that travels with the horse for life
  • No, ID owners! Pre-purchase exams for intending owners - too hard?
  • I don't like government dictation in this, but it make recovering stolen animals easier
  • a horse passport would be valuable in preventing theft.

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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