Sorry, this blog isn’t about that time you and your friends went out and drank way too much and on a dare you all ended up getting a bunch of truly horrible tattoos that you really, really regretted the next morning, and now you’re desperate to get yours removed before your mom or your girlfriend sees it. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the wrong place.
No, this is actually about domesticated hogs and the various ways a pig farmer can easily identify individual animals within a drove for later processing—specifically, by tattooing a series of numbers and/or letters on the pig’s ear or shoulder or back. For the ear, you use a special ear tattoo plier; and for the back or shoulder, you use a hog shoulder-slapper.
Both tools use special metal needlepoint alphanumeric characters, called dies, that can be slipped in and out of the applicator as needed. Last but not least, you need livestock tattoo ink, which comes in green or black colors.
Farmers today who regularly tattoo their hogs, goats, cattle, horses, and other livestock may not realize it, but they are participants in a practice dating back to the very dawn of human civilization.
Thousands of years ago, almost as soon as our hunter–gatherer ancestors stopped hunting–gathering and instead took to farming and animal husbandry in fixed settlements to supply themselves with reliable sources of food and clothing, they realized they had a new challenge to face: how to keep track of their ever-growing herds of swine, goats, cows, sheep, and other animals in their care.
Whether destined for market or bred to live on the farm, it is important—and in most areas legally required—that livestock be clearly identified. Livestock identification can take several forms, including tagging, tattooing, electronic implants, high-tech transponders, or a combination of these methods. However, when it comes to hogs, one of the most common methods used is tattooing, as it is less costly than branding, damages the animal’s skin less, and is less painful and stressful to the animal. Continue reading “Hog Tattooing Made Easy”