Over the last few weeks I have been reading up the history of animal rights. Upon my discovery I have realised that the history itself is relevantly short. It’s true, we have been living among animals for over 15,000 years starting with the domestication of dogs – shortly after this we started actively domesticating animals for farming and agriculture. As we harnessed this we have gained the trust of these animals and as with many things in life – there will be people who wish to abuse and take advantage of this. So the fundamental question is: When did we recognise that there is a welfare issue? When did we sympathise with animals and strive to improve their welfare and punish those who abuse them? I believe it entered into public awareness thanks to a man called Jeremy Bentham.
In the last ten years there have been hundreds of campaigns for various animal welfare charities from all over the world, most notably organisations such as PETA and WWF which have access to huge marketing budgets. They are able to raise global protests and boycotts with an advert on the TV or newspaper. The landscape of campaigning is changing though, now smaller causes are able to gain huge support using social media platforms to gain followers and exposure. It raises the question though, is this new access to social media a great way to change the world or does it dilute the action of welfare charities with virtual chatter?
Compulsory Microchipping is fast approaching the UK; as of March 2015 it will be compulsory in Wales while England will have to wait until April 2016, but is microchipping a solution in itself? As usual the proposed legislation is vague, dull and drawn out and there are various things to consider.
As much as I advocate microchipping across all dogs in the UK, I’m always slightly cautious when the government finds a need to add legislation to ensure owners do the right thing. I personally see it as common sense, and I hope most owners also see this – perhaps some might not find this obvious thus the need for this?
As mentioned on my previous article on microchipping I would rather not tell owners that they will be fined £500 for not microchipping their dog, instead I would tell them that if they choose not to microchip their dog they are dramatically increasing the chances of losing them if they run away.
Above all this is a welfare issue and thousands of dogs across the UK and indeed the world have been reunited with their owners as a result of this.
What is a ‘microchip’ you might say? To many, it is often regarded as a GPS navigation system or a high-tech disk that monitors your dogs thoughts and feelings.
Quite simply, it’s a rice-grain sized identification tag that cannot be taken off. If someone has a scanner the details will come up in a database with the owners address and contact details. A quick phone call, email or visit and your dog is reunited with the owner. A textbook result.
Fitting a microchip onto your dog is the first step, other ‘chips’ to consider include;
Make sure you keep your contact details up to date online such as your full name, home address, telephone number and your email address. This can be easily done online or by your local vet.
When visiting your vet annually always make sure that they are able to detect the microchip with a simple scan. On rare occasions microchips can ‘migrate‘ to other parts of the body, this can cause problems identifying the dog if found by a local dog warden or vet.
Microchips can break or malfunction on rare occasions. If the vet cannot find a microchip on your dog, this could be a result it.
This may sound complicated to some but all of this can be solved by asking your local vet on your annual visit. Ask to check the details are up to date and the vet can scan your dog, in most cases they will do this for free and it literally takes less than 5 minutes to do if no problems are found.
Happy chipping and scanning dog owners!