Closed petition Fern’s Law: Compulsory to scan & check microchips to reunite stolen dogs, cats.

Many missing microchipped pets are never reunited as it’s optional to scan & check microchip registration. It’s time veterinary professionals, authorities and rescues checked pet & keeper match on the original database at a pets 1st consultation or yearly checkup. It’s their only chance to get home

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Vets can play a valuable role in reuniting missing microchipped pets. We have microchipped our pets with the expectation to be reunited if the worst happens and they are lost or stolen. If just one organisation is not committed to scan and check microchip registration the whole system fails and is not fit for purpose. Legislation is needed to replace half hearted ‘strengthened, best practice recommendations’

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Government responded

This response was given on 2 April 2020

BVA and RCVS provide necessary guidance to scan dogs. We will consider reform options including whether this should be mandatory as part of Post Implementation Review of the microchipping regulations.

Read the response in full

It is a legal requirement for all owners to microchip their dogs, and to enter the details onto a database. British Veterinary Association (BVA) best practice is that vets should scan dogs on first presentation at their practice, and at other regular intervals including prior to euthanasia, where euthanasia is deemed the appropriate course of action by the veterinary expert. BVA’s website sets out their position on scanning:

The guidance includes advice on what a vet should do if the details of the person presenting the dog are different to what is recorded on the database, and what to do when stray or lost animals are brought to the practice by checking the microchipping databases in order to reunite the animal with their owner.

The Government considers that advice from BVA and RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) provides veterinary professionals with helpful guidance on conducting appropriate scanning and to protect the welfare of dogs. Ministers will continue to emphasise the importance of vets scanning pet animals when they are first presented to their surgery.

Since 6 April 2016, all dogs in England and Wales must be microchipped and registered on an approved database by the time they are eight weeks’ old. Since we made microchipping compulsory, the number of dogs microchipped has gone up from around 58% of all dogs in 2013 to over 90% of all dogs. This means that about 8.5 million dogs in the United Kingdom are microchipped. We also advise cat owners to get their cat microchipped and it was a manifesto commitment to introduce compulsory microchipping for cats. As part of this commitment we recently completed a Call For Evidence on cat microchipping which attracted over 3,000 responses. We are in the process of analysing the responses and will publish a summary of the responses together with a way forward in due course.

The Government is also considering proposals for the scanning of dogs by vets as part of the ongoing Post Implementation Review of The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Other parliamentary business

James Daly MP introduces proposed law on the scanning of animals

James Daly MP has introduced a proposed law in the House of Commons that would require vets to scan microchips for owner and rescue back-up details before euthanising a healthy animal.

The proposed law was introduced as a Private Members Bill under what is known as the 'ten minute rule'. The ten minute rule allows a backbench MP to make his or her case for a new Bill in a speech lasting up to ten minutes. An opposing speech may also be made before the House decides whether or not the Bill should be introduced. If the MP is successful the Bill is taken to have had its first reading.

The ten minute rule provides an opportunity for an MP who is not a Government Minister to make the case for a new law, or a change to an existing one, in the hope of building support from other MPs across the House of Commons.


Find out more about Private Members Bills:

Government responds to request for an update on its work on microchipping pets

The Petitions Committee has today published a letter from George Eustice MP, Secretary of State of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. This was in response to the Committee’s request for an update on the Government’s work on the microchipping of pets, and in particular the Post Implementation Review (PIR) of The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015.

In response, the Secretary of State says that the Government hopes to complete the review by the end of this year, including a consultation on cat microchipping in the next three months.

You can read the response in full here:

You can find the original letter to the Secretary of State here:

Follow the Committee on Twitter for updates on our work on this issue and others:

Petitions Committee requests update from Government on work on microchipping of animals

The Chair of the Petitions Committee has written to the Government to ask for an update on its work on the microchipping of dogs and cats.

In its responses to two petitions about this issue, the Government talked about a Post Implementation Review of The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015, and a consultation on cat microchipping. The letter asks for an update on the outcome of this work.

We'll let you know when we receive a response to this letter.

Read the full letter here:

Follow the Committee on Twitter for updates on our work on this issue and others:

Who is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that looks at e-petitions submitted on The Committee is independent from Government.

You can find out more about the Petitions Committee and its work on our website: