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What does a Brand Inspector Do?

A brand inspection is required when purchasing livestock.
A brand inspector makes sure the brand on a cow matches branding records.
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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2014
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A brand inspector is responsible for records management, inspections, and branding. Brand inspectors work for the state government. The role they play is critical to the management of diseases and settling property disputes. By law, a brand inspection is required any time the ownership of cattle, horses, mules, or donkeys change hands. It is also required for animals leaving the state and any animal going to be slaughtered.

A brand inspection is required every time you are buying livestock. The brand inspector checks the animal to view the actual brand and compare it to the branding records. Each brand is unique to a specific farm or location. The branding records for the area will indicate the entire transactional history of the animal. The person who is selling the animal must be able to provide proof that they are the legal owner of that animal.

Each state has a branding inspection office. This office has all the livestock records and brands for the entire state and nearby farms. They are responsible for keeping accurate records of ownership and brands. Before purchasing any animal, check with the branding office.

There are two reasons for brands: accurate tracking of animal sales and to prevent poaching. Livestock are valuable assets and the ability to ensure animals are returned to their proper owners is central to the role of the brand inspector. This time-honored method is the most accurate way to safeguard animals.

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At any large livestock sale, such as an auction or fair, a brand inspector will be available. Their role is to validate the animal branded against the bill of sale. It is critical to ensure that the animal you paid for is the one that you take home. Any disputes over ownership must be resolved before a sale can be completed. If the purchaser tries to dissuade you from obtaining a branding inspection certificate, this is a red flag that something is wrong with the transaction.

Private branding companies, vets or branding inspectors, can do the actual branding for a fee. The application of a brand must be to a specific area of the animal to be effective. It is illegal to place your brand on top of another brand.

Modern brands are now three characters in length, due to the number of brands in existence. Select a brand that is easy to recognize and will not become difficult to read. There are two types of brand — hot iron and freezer — and both types are best applied by a professional.

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