This week TheHorse.com posted an article about illegal horse castrations going on in New Zealand. Not surprisingly, snickers rose from the company’s Production Department as everyone wondered, “Who does that?”

In the article, the local district compliance manager stated, “It has certainly been a veterinarian-only procedure (in New Zealand) for more than 50 years so there are no excuses for anyone being unaware of its status.”

We know that you mostly only see veterinarians performing castrations, but does that mean we really know, and understand, that this is a procedure only to be performed by vets?

In Norway, castrating dogs is frowned upon because they believe it is best practices to have better obedience training of the dog than to use castration as a behavior modification.

In the United States, most cattle and pig farmers perform their own castrations, as well as sheep farmers, using tools such as banding, the emasculator, etc. In North Carolina, it is illegal for anyone (other than a licensed veterinarian) to castrate animals other than male food animals. In Kentucky there are no laws prohibiting individuals from performing castrations on animals they own. Perhaps we need to have something written on paper?

In my collegiate equine science class we were shown exactly how to do castrations–both standing and with the horse lying on the ground. We were instructed how the emasculators worked and where exactly to make the incision.