THE British Horse Society has expressed its full support of the Scottish Government’s proposal to ban hot branding.

Acknowledging that further research on physical and mental stressors would be useful, in matters of equine welfare the BHS prefers a precautionary principle.

“If we do not know whether or not an act is injurious to the overall detriment of the welfare of a horse, but have good reason to believe it may be, then for the horses’ sake we will assume that the act is injurious until the contrary is proved,”

said a spokesman In the case of hot branding, the society believes that there is “little doubt” that the application of hot irons to an animal causes “unjustifiable pain” with no real benefit to the method.