Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thoroughbred Identification- Consider Microchipping

Chez Chevaux is a rescue organization devoted  to thoroughbred horses. Priority is given to ex-racehorses. As such, we only accept purebred thoroughbreds as residents.We are happy to offer any referral assistance that we can to those who contact us enquiring about placement options for any equines in need. 
While all of the TBs currently at Chez Chevaux are accompanied by their original papers, we will be microchipping them. We also directly assist, as possible, TBs with or without their papers that  we don't have room for here, provided that we can establish that they ARE TBs. 
The Jockey Club is the Registry that maintains records and issues the Registration Papers for thoroughbred foals. A complete set of registration requirements may be found by visiting the site and searching the Interactive Registration Help Desk.
In 2001 The Jockey Club inaugerated identifying DNA as one precondition of TB foal registration. While microchipping TBs and the reporting of the same remains optional, the Jockey Club does maintain records regarding the TBs for whom such information has been reported.
Personally, I would like to see standardized microchipping become a mandatory addition for TB foal registration. Although thoroughbreds that raced will have been tattooed inside their upper lips, those that did not are unlikely to be. Those tattoos fade over time and may often become indecipherable as TBs age.
Whenever possible, we contact prior connections of an incoming TB to let them know where the horse is now. To some it may be a comfort, others are shocked, and there may be those that don't care.
Please see below regarding TBs that could be quickly identified:

King 5 Broadcasting Story 

The Thoroughbred Times 

For the TBs that don't have readable tattoos or their papers in hand, an implanted microchip could provide an added technological safety net if someone with a scanner was there to look for it.
If auctions were REQUIRED to scan all horses for microchips, and any microchipped horse going through auction without original papers and/or a permanent brand inspection card (the brand inspection card is not, alone, necessarily a wholly accurate means of identification, but a number of western states do require it for interstate transport) was held at least three days for identification to ensure it wasn't stolen, it could help buy more  horses some time.
Consider: A neighbor left her home to run a few errands on a Saturday afternoon. When she returned, three of her four horses were right where they should have been: In their turnout pastures, eating grass...but, her Friesian gelding was missing, along with his halter and leadrope. 
Luckily, he was back at home by evening. 
Two teenaged girls (unknown to the owner) had trespassed onto the property and stolen the gelding.  Several miles down the road, they approached a home with a barn and deposited him there, along with the highly suspect story that they found him wandering loose down the road. The Snohomish County Sherriffs' Department had been contacted immediately by the owner, and, thankfully, by the person who stalled him pending proper reunification with his rightful person.
This gelding is papered and microchipped. 
But, had he been transported to an auction, such documentation might not have helped much if a scanner and some wait time wasn't routine auction protocol.