I used to wonder why in the world would I want to microchip my horses. Then I spent 3 weeks in New Orleans working with LSU taking care of the horses that were rescued after Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana has a brand law. All horses have to be uniquely identified by a brand, tattoo or microchip. When the Katrina and Rita roared through the state, it took down trees and fences and flooded pastures. Horses went missing out of their pastures.
Well meaning rescuers picked animals up and took them home with them. LSU rescued over 400 horses. Thankfully, because of the brand laws every horse that LSU rescued was returned to their legal owner. Every owner had paperwork to prove their ownership beyond any doubt. Many of these horses were microchipped and that provided an easy way to both prove that the horses went to their owners but also gave LSU a way to contact the owners.
A microchip absolutely proves the identity of the horse. It is a unique number that is registered to the horse and to the owner. If the horse is stolen, a microchip can be the proof of the horse’s identity. Microchipping can also be a deterrent to theft if is known that each horse is microchipped. Net Posse – Stolen Horse International recommends the Avid Microchip.
Most registries encourage microchipping or tattooing as a method of identification. The microchip number is included on the horses registration papers verifying the identity of the horse. This number can be included on testing for diseases such as the Coggins test.
Application in the Rescue
I am leaning toward microchipping all horses that come into the rescue. This will provide us with a means of tracking the horses throughout their life. The microchip number will be registered to the rescue and it will provide a means of proving that they are indeed an adopted horse in case the horse is resold, lost or stolen. Microchip numbers would be included on their adoption contracts, coggins and any health records.