The Importance of Branding

By Emily Taylor, B.Sc., Livestock Development Intern, Regina

Livestock Services of Saskatchewan (LSS) is responsible for issuing and transferring livestock brands and for maintaining the official Saskatchewan brand registry. They also issue livestock dealer licences, which gives individuals the right to buy and sell livestock. There are many types of livestock identification; including tattoos, dangle tags and RFID tags, but a brand is the most evident and only prima facie (accepted as correct until proved otherwise) proof of ownership.

Livestock inspectors are authorized by LSS to ensure people within the industry are complying with provincial regulations regarding the sale and transport of livestock. Branding as a form of permanent identification assists inspectors in verifying ownership and may also be used to locate animals that have gone missing. A brand is a permanent mark of ownership and the primary tool that inspectors use to identify and correct any anomalies during inspections. Since 2020, livestock inspectors have resolved ownership issues involving over 29,000 head of cattle through stray animal identification, redirecting proceeds after sales to rightful owner and resolution of reported stolen or escaped animals.

Producers are strongly encouraged to regularly take inventory and ensure their livestock records are up to date. If an animal goes missing, it should be reported to your local livestock inspector immediately, who will notify the provincial team of inspectors and the RCMP livestock investigator so they can be on the lookout for any activity involving the brand. The sooner a missing animal is reported, the greater chance it will be found and returned to the owner. The Saskatchewan brand registry is kept up to date and available to the public on the LSS website. If a branded animal has gone missing, the brand information can be used to return the animal to its owner. It is important that producers apply for and register their brands with LSS to ensure there are no duplicates and they meet the requirements of brand specifications.

Branding as a management tool will help aid in inspection efficiency and provides a much better level of security for a producer than any other type of identification.

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