Electric fencing is an obstruction which deters movement across a certain periphery by applying electric shocks. The shocks may vary in strength and could range in effect – from unpleasant to fatal.
The fencing consists of flexible synthetic cable through which a wire cord is intertwined, and an electrical current is then run through the synthetic cord. The electrified cable is then fastened to the fence posts with insulated clips or staples, which do not allow for the current to flow into the posts. The fence is also grounded with a rod made of metal. This allows the current to flow through any animal or individual who are in contact with the electrical cable and the ground at the same time, causing a shock. The strength of the shock is directly related to the voltage of the current, and effects can vary accordingly.
The electric fence is not allowed to be in contact with the earth, and any object touching both the electric cable and the ground will cause a short in the current. It is for this reason that these fences should be kept clear of any plants or trees which may cause short outs. When the fencing is attached to wood or metal poles, insulators made of porcelain are used to attach the wire to the posts. However, plastic posts can also be used, in which case no isolators are required.
The first patent for an electric fence was grated in eighteen eighty six in the USA. Later, the Russian military utilised this fencing, and later, the Germans used an electric fence with a lethal current during the war to enforce a border between Holland and Belgium, and in order to prevent unauthorised crossing. This electrified border killed scores of people, as well as untold numbers of livestock and wildlife. Later, electric fencing was implemented mostly to contain animals.
These days electric fencing is commonly used as a means to contain animals or to enclose areas for safety reasons. Electrical fencing is in some cases easier and less expensive to erect than regular or barbed wire fencing. Livestock are also in much less danger of being injured by electrical fencing in comparison to other types of fencing which may ensnare or cut the animal. Certain types of electrical fencing consist of electric netting which is electrified, and this is used very effectively to enclose and contain poultry or small livestock, while also effectively safeguarding them from small predators such a caracals.
A drawback of electric fencing is that it could be shorted out and rendered ineffective by a broken conductive cable, electricity outage or the starting of fires through dry foliage coming into contact with the live wire. It can also cause accidents through its low visibility or unintended touching of the fence by some unsuspecting person or animal.