I’m not talking about the issue of damage to hides by the use of hot-iron brands; nor am I talking about the animal-welfare considerations. And, for those of you who don’t reside in a brand-inspection state, you may not understand the significance of branding to the culture, especially in western states. “Riding for the brand” is more than a saying; it’s a statement of belief in a lifestyle and in certain values.
Often, the strong emotions that erupt surrounding brand laws come down to the fact that such an alteration means change. And a change also generally entails outside interests dictating behavior to us – things which, in our mind, they have no right dictating.
Without question, there are other issues involved with the branding question that have strong economic ramifications. This includes everything from the cost of implementing the programs to the security and theft reduction that brands provide.
However, when you look at the strength of the emotions surrounding these issues, it really comes down to producers wanting to stand up and protect a way of life and traditions that have value. They also don’t want outside forces meddling to control and shape the industry.
Tight state budgets have brought brand inspection to the forefront in a lot of states forced to discuss budget cuts. The one thing we can say for certain is that it still means something when someone is willing to put their brand on something.