Hot branding of horses and ponies could be banned in Scotland.

A proposal to ban hot branding on animal welfare grounds is to go before the Scottish Parliament next month.

Currently hot branding is on the list of “permitted mutilations” in the UK along with spaying bitches and dehorning cows. But in Scotland it is an offence to brand an animal without specific permission.

The proposal needs to be voted in by SMPs but the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is hopeful it will be passed.

Chris House, former president of BEVA, told H&H: “This is something we’ve been encouraging for a while now, so we’re very pleased.

“It could be thrown out by parliament, but we think that’s unlikely.

“Horses don’t need to be branded for their own good, and now with microchipping we feel it can no longer be justified.

“We’re hoping England and Wales will take it forward and consider it carefully too.”