Last update: November 26, 2010 10:30:22 AM E-mail Print

 

INVESTIGATION INTO THE PERMANENCY AND VISIBILITY OF TATTOO MARKS

OF DARK PIGMENTED ANIMALS

 

W.J. Olivier, P.J. Griessel & A.P. Pretorius

Grootfontien Agricultural Development Institute, Private Bag X 529

Middelburg, Eastern Cape, 5900

 


With the acceptance of the Act on Animal Branding (1962) all previous identification marks were revoked and a uniform identification system was accepted. Due to the large problems with stock theft in the late eighties and early nineties, the Act came into the spotlight again. This leads to the acceptance of an Amendment to the Act in 1992, which compelled all stockowners to mark all their animals according to the Act.

Shortly after the acceptance of the Amendment, it was alleged by farmers that the tattoo marks on dark pigmented animals were not visible or readable after a few months. Due to this problem a request was made by the Registrar: Animal Improvement, as well as by several agricultural orientated organisations, to Grootfontein ADI to investigate the permanency and visibility of tattoo marks on dark pigmented animals.

The aim of this project was therefore to investigate the permanency and visibility of the tattoo marks of Namaqua Afrikaner ewes on the Carnarvon Experimental Station and Dorper ewes on the Koopmansfontein Experimental Station.

 

Materials and method

In November 1997, 52 Namaqua-Afrikaner ewes on the Carnarvon Experimental Station were tattooed with the registered mark of the Northern Cape Departement of Agriculture (LNC) according to the method describe by Olivier et al. (2000). In August 1998, 200 Dorper ewes on the Koopmansfontein Experimental Station were also tattooed with the same method and registered mark. In both the groups the green ink (Ketchum®, Ketchum Manufacturing Inc. Ottowa Canada K2A 2G6) that is specifically marketed for the tattooing of dark pigmented animals, were used.

The Namaqua-Afrikaner ewes‘ tattoo marks were evaluated with regard to permanency and visibility at three and eight months after they were tattooed. The 200 Dorper ewes were evaluated eight months after they were tattooed and 141 of these were again evaluated at 22 months after tattooing. The visibility and readability of these marks were evaluated according to the following scale, from one (1) to three (3):

                        1          -           No mark readable

                        2          -           The mark is difficult to read

                        3          -           The mark is readable

 

Results and discussion

The results of the different evaluations of the Namaqua-Afrikaner and the Dorper ewes are presented in Figures 1 and 2 respectively and is expressed as the number of animals in each class as a percentage of the total number of animals evaluated during each evaluation.

 

Figure 1: The percentage of animals in each class for the first (3-months) and second (8-months) evaluations of the Namaqua-Afrikaner ewes

 

It is evident from Figure 1 that 76% of the Namaqua-Afrikaner ewe’s tattoo marks evaluated at 3-months were easy to read. Only 24% of the tattoo marks were difficult to read, while no mark was unreadable. At the second evaluation (8-months) 90% of the marks were clear and easy to read, with only 10% of the marks that was difficult to read. There was again not a single mark that was unreadable.

 

Figure 2: The percentage of animals in each class for the first (8 months) and second (22-months) evaluations of the Dorper ewes.

 

From Figure 2 it is evident that 84% of the marks evaluated after eight months were readable (3), while 12.5% of the marks were difficult to read (2) and only 3.5% of the marks were unreadable at the evaluation. At the 22-months evaluation, 77% of the marks were readable (3), 19% of the marks were difficult to read (2) and 4% of the marks were not readable.

Ninety-seven of the 141 Dorper ewes that was evaluated for a second time at 22-months were scored a 3 (marks readable) for both the first and second evaluation. While 11 of these ewes were scored a 2 (marks difficult to read) for both evaluations and 2 ewes were scored a 1 (no mark visible). Of the remaining 40 ewes 22 of the ewes that were scored a 3 for the first evaluation were scored a 2 for the second evaluation and one ewe were scored a 1. Eleven of the ewes with a score of 2 at the first evaluation were scored a 3 at the second evaluation and 3 ewes were scored a 1.  Of the ewes with a score of 1 at the first evaluation three ewes were scored a 2 at the second evaluation.

It is thus evident that 72% of these ewes had the same score a both evaluations, while the largest proportion of the rest of these ewes were scored either one class below or above their first score.

 

CONCLUSION

From this study it is evident that dark pigmented animals can be tattooed successfully and that only a small portion of the animal’s tattoo marks will disappear after time. It is important that the correct procedure should be followed when animals are being marked and that enough ink is being used. Great care should be taken when the ink is rubbed into the marks to make sure that the mark will be permanent, visible and readable for a long time after the animal has been marked.

 

REFERENCES

Act on Lifestock Branding, 1962. (Act no. 87 of 1962), Government Gazette 25 June 1962

Amenment act on Lifestock Branding, 1992. (Act no. 10 of 1992), Government Gazette 3 March 1992

OLIVIER, WJ., GRIESSEL, P.J. & PRETORIUS, A.P., 2000. ‘n Ondersoek na die permanensie en sigbaarheid van tatoeërmerke by donker gepigmenteerde diere. Grootfontein Agric. 2: 1.

 

 

First evaluation

1

2

3

Second valuation

1

2

3

1

2

3

2

22

3

 

11

97