James Daly MP recently presented a Ten Minute Rule Bill to the House of Commons named: PETS (MICROCHIPS). The Bill has two strands:
Tuks Law: To make it a legal requirement that vets are required to scan for rescue backup contact details (i.e. a former owner or the breeder) and contact them to enquire as to whether they would like to take ownership of the pet and also to confirm the person presenting the animal is registered on the microchip prior to euthanising a healthy or treatable animal.
To summarise, no healthy or treatable pet can be euthanised by a vet without having its microchip scanned first, no pet can be destroyed without the expressed permission of its registered owner (which can be found by scanning the chip), all other options of rehousing a healthy or treatable pet have been exhausted before euthanasia (no other backup contact details can be found on the chip).
Note from our Chair, Dr Elizabeth Ormerod. Our members may be shocked to learn that veterinarians are sometimes presented with animals for euthanasia, when there is no valid reason for this. We term this unwarranted euthanasia or convenience killing. Very careful consideration and assessment is needed when people request euthanasia of an animal, including being sure that this is the owner. I developed and delivered workshops for veterinary undergraduates on how to address these situations. During these workshops it transpired that vet students in most universities had already witnessed such scenarios during extramural studies. The most common situation is of a “revenge killing” to get back at a partner following relationship breakdown. Therefore, confirming ownership in these cases is still not a sufficient safeguard.
Gizmos Law: To make it a legal requirement for all Local Authorities to scan a microchip of a deceased cat in order to return it to the registered owner before it is either cremated or placed on landfill, it will also ask for all local authorities to notify ‘Deceased Cats UK’ when a deceased cat is discovered without a chip in order for them to reunite them with their owners.
To summarise, no deceased cat can be cremated or sent to landfill without all attempts being made to reunite it with its owner.
Note from our Chair: this is also extremely important. Many cats go missing and some are killed in road accidents. If people know that their pet has died, they can have closure. Without this information, they will continue to search, possibly for many months and remain in a state of high distress.