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Cattle Branding

Have you ever wondered why your mother puts your name on your underwear? She does this so you know what belongs you and what belongs to someone else. Farmers do this with their cows even though animals do not wear underwear! Cattle Branding is the practice of branding horses and cattle was brought to North America in the 16th century by the Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés. Branding initially involved burning the surface of a cows flesh with a hot iron to produce a scar with an easily recognizable pattern for identification or other purposes. Today branding is more often done with chemicals, tattooing, paint, tagging, or ear-notching. Used primarily as a means of identification and proof of ownership, branding is also performed to keep records on quality. In many places throughout the United States and Canada, registration of brands is required by law, and altering a brand is a criminal offense.

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