Case study: Equine Identification in an Amish Community, an Overview of a Survey Conducted in Pennsylvania

A. M. Swinker, K. S. Vanderman, D. M. Kniffen, B. E. Gill, H. B. McKernan, M. I. Gerber, A. L. Graeff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The Amish are a Christian group that settled in North America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, they reside in 27 states, with 70% of the population living in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. The Amish rely heavily on horses for transportation and farm work. If this group is to be expected to participate in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), their beliefs and concerns must be taken into consideration. The objectives of this study were to assess demographic characteristics, movement reporting, potential for the spread of disease, use of emergency preparations, familiarity with and concerns about NAIS, and animal identification methods in the Amish population. Surveys were administered to an Amish population (n = 30) participating in a public horse sale. Regarding NAIS, 53.4% of respondents were somewhat or very familiar with NAIS, whereas 46.7% were not. More than 86% were not interested in participating in NAIS and did not have an NAIS premises number, 10.0% were unsure, and 3.3% were interested. More than 96% did not own any microchipped animals, and 73.3% would find no benefit in purchasing an equine that was microchipped. On a scale of 1 (no concern) to 5 (very concerned), respondents were concerned about tracing sources of disease (4.31) and being notified of disease outbreaks (4.34). Confidentiality of information was rated moderate (3.34), and an improved identification method for horses was of low concern (n = 2.14). In conclusion, education about NAIS, biosecurity, and preventing the spread of disease would be beneficial. Feasible alternatives to movement reporting and microchipping should be offered to this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-785
Number of pages7
JournalProfessional Animal Scientist
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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