On Monday 28 June, the Parliament is set to debate two e-petitions relating to microchipping of pets. Jonathan Gullis, member of the Petitions Committee, will open the debate. Victoria Prentis, a Minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will respond on behalf of the Government.
While microchipping one’s dog is mandatory, there is no obligation for rescues, pounds or vets to scan dogs who come into their care for a microchip; this means stolen and missing pets are slipping through the cracks. The petition for Fern’s Law, named after a dog who was reunited with her family years after being stolen thanks to her chip, is looking to change that.
“Vets can play a valuable role in reuniting missing microchipped pets. We have microchipped our pets with the expectation to be reunited if the worst happens and they are lost or stolen,” the petition reads. “If just one organisation is not committed to scan and check microchip registration the whole system fails and is not fit for purpose. Legislation is needed to replace half hearted ‘strengthened, best practice recommendations’.”
In its response to the petition, the Government said, “BVA and RCVS provide necessary guidance to scan dogs. We will consider reform options including whether this should be mandatory as part of Post Implementation Review of the microchipping regulations.”
Romanian rescue Tuk was young and perfectly healthy when he was put to sleep by a vet upon request of a person who was not his owner – despite the fact Tuk’s microchip was registered to a rescue which offered full back-up. The campaign in his name is calling for mandatory scanning of any healthy or treatable pets prior to euthanasia, so that vets can see and contact any rescue registered on the pet’s chip for back-up.
As a result of the campaign Defra, in consultation with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and British Veterinary Associations (BVA), set out guidance for veterinary surgeons to scan for a microchip in dogs prior to euthanasia “where, in their professional judgement, destruction of the dog is not necessary on animal health or welfare grounds”.
Campaigners are now calling for the guidance to be enshrined into law. In its response to the petition, the Government said, “The Government understands the distress that the death of a pet can cause and is considering scanning requirements, as part of the Post Implementation Review of the microchipping regulations.”