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In a nutshell - NO.
It is currently illegal to apply an electrical current to a fence constructed with a barbed construction throughout Europe. EU regulation IEC 60335-2-76, Annex BB. 2002. The principal reason being that the animal (including people) must be able to escape the electrical current IMMEDIATELY.
The law currently applies to the electrification of the barbed wire itself, it is still legal to off-set a plain wire electric fence from a barbed wire fence as long as the barbed wire itself is not electrified. Whilst this arrangement may be legal, It is not considered good practice for the reasons that an animal could still get caught on the barbed wire portion of the fence and be subjected to repeated shocks.
I’m sure that almost everyone involved in agriculture has had their fair share of “hang ups” on barbed wire. Many ripped jeans, torn jackets and bodily scars can be attributed to barbed wire. It’s simply a fact of the product. But, if you add an electrical pulse to this scenario that generates a quick escape response – entanglement can occur rather quickly to both humans and animals.
Think about this; what do you want to happen when you or an animal touches a hot electric wire and gets a shock? Typically, the intelligent reaction is to back off rather rapidly, move away from it – and to not touch it again. The last thing you should want to happen is to get entangled with that wire and not be able to get away or back off from it! Believe me, repeated shocks from an electric fence wire can be a pretty traumatic experience. Thus, a smooth joint-less wire is much less likely to entangle and easier to move away from.
The second reason is the make up of the barbed wire - it has numerous sharp points and electricity tends to be discharged into the air from these points more easily than from a rounded surface. This is called the Coronal Effect and describes how the electrical field is strongest where the radius of the curvature is small (the point) than where the curvature is greater (the round wire) (There is a fancy equation that highlights this) The more points you have discharging current into the air - the less is available to do it's function of controlling your target animal
The third reason is that the animal will receive a stronger shock from a skin that is pierced by the barb. The charge will be administered straight into moist flesh rather than on the skin surface and as you all know - electricity is easily conducted via a moist surface.
Personally, I just plain and simple do not see a need to electrify barbed wire. I always discourage people from doing this. I think that it is right down dangerous as well as unnecessary.