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In 2015 the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 were introduced. These regulations make it a legal requirement to have all dogs fitted with a microchip before they are 8 weeks old. There is currently no equivalent legislation for cats. There is also no legal requirement on veterinarians, local authorities or highways agencies to scan dog or cat microchips in any circumstance.

In September 2020, two e-petitions calling for the compulsory scanning of pet microchips to be introduced, each received more than 100,000 signatures.

E-petition 300010 calls for the introduction of ‘Fern’s Law’ which would make it compulsory to scan and check all microchips to reunite stolen dogs and cats.

E-petition 300025 states that a dog was euthanised at the request of a person who was not the registered keeper and calls for the introduction of ‘Tuks Law’.

Tuks Law would require vets to:

  • Scan microchips prior to euthanising a healthy/treatable animal.
  • Confirm keeper details on original database of unknown animals presented for euthanasia.
  • Seek alternative options in non life threatening/non emergency situations.
  • If an unsubstantiated reason for euthanasia is made corroborating evidence is required.
  • On government endorsed databases a prefix is to be added to microchips to identify dual registration of rescue animals.

A Defra consultation which ran from December 2020 until February 2021, sought views on whether the scanning of cats and dogs by vets and other bodies should be made compulsory in certain circumstances, or whether existing guidance and best practice set out by the veterinary profession and other bodies is sufficient. The consultation received over 33,000 responses which the Government is currently analysing, with the findings and proposed actions expected to be published later this year.

Both the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Kennel Club have said that they oppose proposals to introduce blanket or indiscriminate compulsory scanning. The BVA and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) have published professional guidance on microchip scanning and the euthanasia of pets.

The topics presented in e-petitions 300010 and 300025 will be debated in Westminster Hall on 28 June 2021 at 4:30pm. The debate will be opened by Jonathan Gullis.

Documents to download

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