This is a quick note to say that on 6 April 2016 microchipping of dogs will become compulsory under the Microchipping of Dogs (2015) Regulations. This law came into force on 24 February 2015 but it seems that the compulsory micro-chipping aspect of this legislation starts on 6 April 2016. The law concerns the UK: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
No doubt there will be a lot of people who will break this law as it will take time for it to settle in and for people to get into the habit of micro-chipping their dog. It is estimated that 25% of dogs are not microchipped. It is believed that around 3.3 million of around 8 million cats are not microchipped in the UK (41%).
The interesting aspect of this law for a cat website like this one is that it does beg the question as to whether, in due course, compulsory micro-chipping of cats will be introduced.
I suspect that the only reason why it will become compulsory to microchip dogs is because they are more dangerous and it is more important to identify owners; although micro-chipping is not cast-iron evidence of ownership for obvious reasons: mistakes can be made with the database.
There are compelling arguments why it should be obligatory to microchip cats. I’m not sure whether I am for or against compulsory micro-chipping but I am for micro-chipping. There are many advantages, one of which is that a lost cat can be reunited with his owner more easily.
Another obvious reason why micro-chipping is useful is because it should improve cat welfare. If an owner of a cat knows that they will be known should their cat be found to be suffering from neglect or abandoned, it should improve the standard of cat caretaking/ownership. It’s about enforcing high levels of cat caretaking which in turn should reduce the number of unwanted cats, an objective which is universally supported.
Micro-chipping is not 100% medically safe, incidentally. There are one or two potential health hazards with the process but overall and in general cat welfare is improved through micro-chipping.
See a list of articles on PoC about microchipping (custom Google search results)