Microchipping for dogs became compulsory for animals over eight weeks of age across England, Scotland and Wales in 2016 and statistics show that 92 per cent of dogs are now microchipped. As a result of compulsory microchipping, displaced dogs have been reunited with their owners much quicker, reducing the time they spend in rehoming kennels and reducing owner and animal distress.
The government believes that it is important that cats and kittens are also microchipped as this is often the only hope owners have of seeing their lost cat returned safely to their home. The Government has now carried out an initial consultation, along with a call for evidence to make it mandatory for pet owners to microchip their cats.
Ministers have decided that given the overwhelming support for compulsory cat microchipping, with some 99 per cent of consultation respondents supporting the policy, they will proceed towards a full public consultation on this issue. In the meantime, they are encouraging all cat owners to microchip their felines, ensuring relevant records are kept up to date.
I know that Ministers are also taking this opportunity to consider three separate mandatory scanning campaigns: Tuk’s Law, which would make it mandatory for vets to scan cats and dogs for microchips before putting them down; Fern’s Law, which would require vets to microchip cats and dogs when brought into a vet practice for the first time; and Gizmo’s Legacy to make it mandatory to scan for microchips when a cat or dog is found dead by the roadside.
This continues the renewed efforts to raise standards on animal welfare even further, now we are outside the EU, including taking steps to end live animal exports and cracking down on the illegal smuggling of dogs and puppies.