All Cats To Be Microchipped By Law Under New Government Plans
The government has proposed a new law under which it would be compulsory for all cats to be microchipped.
Of the approximate 2.6 million cats in the UK, it is estimated that around 26% of them do not have chips. The painless process would see a chip, generally around the size of a grain of rice, inserted under the skin of the cat. Each chip has a unique serial number that can be read by a scanner.
The UK government announced today, December 23, that it has now launched a two-month consultation with vets, pet owners and members of the public about the proposed law.
The UK’s Animal Welfare Minister, Lord Goldsmith, said: ‘These plans to make cat microchipping compulsory build on our actions to improve our already world leading animal welfare standards, including taking steps to end live animal exports and ban the practice of keeping primates as pets.’
An earlier call for evidence on cat microchipping by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) received the overwhelming response that 99% of people support making it mandatory for cats to be microchipped.
Cats Protection, a UK charity, said that the majority of strays it takes in are unchipped, which means they are usually unable to trace the owner and the cats have to be rehomed.
‘Cats are a much loved part of the family in millions of homes, and it is heart-breaking if they go missing without a trace,’ the charity’s chief executive, James Yeats, said.
The plans comes almost five years after it became compulsory to microchip all pet dogs, in April 2016. Statistics show that 92% of dogs are now microchipped in the UK. As a result of the compulsory microchipping law, displaced dogs have been reunited with their owners much quicker, Defra said.
The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, said that as we have seen already with dogs, ‘compulsory microchipping is crucial in helping reunite owners with their treasured pets if they are lost or stolen’.
She also offered advice to those buying new pets over the Christmas period.
‘While the festive period is not the best time to introduce a new cat or kitten to your home and family, if you do buy a pet over Christmas, then on top of making sure they are microchipped, I would advise people to ensure they have checked the readily advice available on how you can buy your pet safely and responsibly,’ she said.
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