I see a discrepancy between the attitude of people in respect of the use of microchips in people compared to their use in cats and other animals. The general consensus is that microchips for cats are safe and useful. They are recommended by the establishment and some governments are pushing them as they help to control cat populations by ensuring that cat owners behave more responsibly. If a cat’s owner can be identified when scanning the microchip of a unneutered cat wandering around the neighbourhood, someone can ask pertinent questions as to what is going on.
Pet microchips store information about the cat on a tiny computer chip encased in a glass capsule. They are called Radio-frequency identification (RFID) devices. Manufactures say it is the size of a grain of rice. This is wrong. They are about five times the volume in my estimation.
The capsule contains a transponder, which is a device that sends out a signal on receiving a incoming signal from the scanner. They also contain an antenna. The energy from the scanner drives the pet microchip to send radio waves from the microchip to the scanner, which can be read by the scanner. Different microchips send out different frequencies of radio waves but, today, universal scanners can read the various types of signals.
Microchips are being used at supermarket checkouts! Perhaps these are trials. However, if the product packaging contains a microchip, a trolly load of food can be scanned in one go as you leave the supermarket. No checkout. No scanning of bar codes etc. Bliss.
There is a discussion about embedding microchips into humans. It has been done. Above and beyond the concerns that these devices pose in respect of civil liberties and human rights etc. (big brother syndrome) there are real concerns about health. Are the health concerns played down in respect of microchips for companion animals? I don’t know. I am just asking.
Here is a little list of the concerns with respect to microchipping people:
- Cancer – in animal tests (yes, horrible, I know) 1-10% of the animals – mice and rats – developed cancer around the site of the microchip. It is said that mice are more susceptible to cancer than humans. A proper study of chipped canines has been recommended.
- In the USA, the FDA states that “implantation of the VeriChip poses potential medical downsides” that include: (a) electrical hazards (b) MRI incompatibility (c) adverse tissue reaction and (d) migration of the implanted transponder.
- A strong electrical field can cause the person to be burnt at the site of the microchip. MRI scanners, used for medical diagnosis, produce these fields.
- The information contained within the microchip is unencrypted. This means the information could be “stolen” and misused.
There it is. I sense that the jury is still out with respect to the use of RFID devices in people but that is not the case with respect to cats.