June 23, 2011 12:51 pm

Horses competing in the Rangeland Derby get microchip implants

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With just days to go until the start of Stampede, Stampede officials have launched a new program to reduce the number of animal injuries and deaths.

The program includes implanting microchips in all of the five hundred horses that will compete in the Rangeland Derby this year.

Stampede spokesperson Doug Fraser says the chips will allow vets to track the medical treatment the horses receive.

" In effect the microchip will be a record of their health, to make sure they’re fit for competition".

The Calgary Humane Society says it’s a positive step:

"We believe it will give a lot more insight into the causes of injuries and ways to prevent those in the future, so it’s a great step and one that we are very happy to see", says the Humane Society’s Patricia Cameron.

The Stampede is the first organization to use the microchips.

It’s also bringing in other changes.

Vets will inspect horses before and after competition, and horses competing four days in a row will be given two mandatory rest days.

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