BVA urges caution over microchipping plans
In response to the launch of a public consultation, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has said that any legislation around compulsory microchipping of cats must be clear in its aims and that enforcement must be properly resourced.
The Government has launched an eight-week consultation on proposals for mandatory cat microchipping in England. In addition, Defra will be consulting on three separate mandatory scanning campaigns, including Tuk’s law and Fern’s law. BVA is urging the government to carefully consider the pragmatic implementation of any proposals and the unintended consequences for animal health and welfare if vets have to police new legislation.
Commenting, BVA Senior Vice President Daniella Dos Santos said:
“Microchipping is a safe and effective form of permanent identification that encourages responsible ownership and enables the quick reunification of strays with their owners.
“Although we strongly encourage all cat owners to microchip their pet, the delivery and enforcement around compulsory microchipping of cats is complex and would need adequate resource. Before making it compulsory, the government needs to address the difficulties caused by multiple national databases and consider how feral cat populations would be managed.
“Campaigns to introduce compulsory microchip scanning deliver attractive headlines but fail to recognise that the implementation is complex. Vets’ primary role must be in providing veterinary care for animals and they should not be put in the position of policing the law or untangling ownership disputes, which could result in people not seeking veterinary treatment.
“We know that the headline policies will be popular, but we urge the government to work through the detail before committing to something that is at best unworkable and at worst detrimental to animal welfare.”