APHIS is proposing amendments to the regulations regarding the branding of bovines imported into the United States from Mexico.

The proposed action is a result of a request from the government of Mexico to prevent inconsistencies in branding that can result in bovines being rejected for importation. 

Currently, steers must be marked with a permanent “M” brand, while spayed heifers must be marked with a permanent “M X” brand. But sexually intact bovines must be marked with an “MX” brand, which can lead to confusion over whether the bovines have been correctly branded. The size requirements of the brands can also lead to illegibility.

To offer improved clarity, the new regulations would increase the size of the brand from the current minimum of two inches and maximum of three inches to a minimum of three inches and a maximum of five inches. Steers and spayed heifers would be branded with an “M” on the right hip, within four inches of the midline of the tailhead. Sexually intact bovines would be branded with an “M” on the upper right front shoulder.