Cat owners who fail to microchip their pets will be fined £ 500 under proposed new laws to tackle pet theft and black market resale.
The rules are part of a package introduced by a new government animal welfare task force. The unit is also planning to take action against puppy trafficking and the so-called “shock collars” used to discipline dogs.
A task force was also formed to focus on pet theft, which increased dramatically during the lockdown, when demand for “ pandemic pet partners ” skyrocketed.
The proposed legislation will also address animal welfare issues in agriculture, including a ban on the export of live animals for slaughter, and seek to improve wildlife protection.
The mandatory microchip, already in place for dogs, helps track lost or stolen animals that are illegally resold. More than a quarter of the UK’s 11 million cats are currently microchipped, according to charity Cats Protection, which means their owners can face fines unless they take action.
According to a Freedom of Information request filed by campaign group Pet Theft Awareness, recorded cat thefts increased 12% in 2020 from the previous year, while numbers rose 194% between 2015 and 2020.
The most targeted breeds were the Bengal, Maine Coon, and British Short Hair, which can sell in the thousands.
The microchip involves injecting a small device containing property data into the neck of an animal. The animal can be scanned for a chip and the data retrieved to establish ownership.
The procedure is inexpensive (around £ 20 to £ 30), quick and painless. Click here to find out more.
“ Safe from danger ”
Peter Laurie, Managing Director of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, said: “Every dog and cat deserves to be safe, which means fighting against these animals that are traded illegally and under bad conditions. -being, being proactive in protecting owners from the devastation of having lost or stolen their pets and doing whatever we can to bring them together. “
Some pet insurance policies require dog owners to microchip their pets or risk canceling their policies. These insurers can take the same approach with cat owners once the mandatory cat microchip takes effect.
The government task force will present a number of bills over the coming months to introduce the new rules. This includes legislation banning controversial remote control training collars that allow users to shock their dogs.
Beyond owning pets, the government will seek to ban the sale of foie gras – the liver of ducks and geese that have been force-fed. In addition, a new Animal Sensitivity Bill will be presented to Parliament tomorrow, May 13, to officially recognize animals as sentient beings.
Chris Sherwood, RSPCA CEO, said: “These announcements will make a real and lasting difference to animal welfare, so we are delighted that the government is committed to improving the lives of animals.”