UK veterinarians will be legally required to check dogs’ microchips before they euthanise them. This is to avoid unnecessarily killing healthy and sound dogs. The change in the law has been championed by Boris Johnson. It follows a campaign sparked by the unnecessary euthanasia of a healthy, young dog with rescue backup (RBU). The petition on the UK government and Parliament website campaigning for obligatory scanning of microchips by veterinarians states that the person who requested the euthanasia of Tuk was not the registered keeper.
The petition gathered 121,162 signatures which required a debate in Parliament. The government responded on 7 May 2020 and they confirmed that they were considering scanning requirements, as part of the Post-Implementation Review of the micro-chipping regulations.
I have not seen the regulations but I suspect that the micro-chipping regulations can and have been amended under a statutory instrument which does not require an act being passed in Parliament.
I don’t know much about it because the only paper reporting it is The Telegraph which you can’t access unless you subscribe to the newspaper. I don’t subscribe to it. They do, however, say that “vets will be legally required”. This implies that the regulations had been changed and that this is a current piece of British legislation.
The petition requested that under the proposed law, called Tuk’s Law, a veterinarian should scan for a microchip prior to euthanising a healthy/treatable animal. They should confirm ownership details (keeper details) on original database of unknown animals presented for euthanasia. They should also look for alternative options in non-life-threatening and non-emergency situations. They also wanted corroborating evidence if “an unsubstantiated reason for euthanasia is made”. Finally, on microchip databases endorsed by the government they wanted a prefix to be added to microchips to identify dual registration rescue animals. I don’t know if these other demands have been met by the UK government. If and when I find out I’ll update the page.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) objected, as I understand it, to the new regulations. They argue that it would create an unwelcome administrative burden. They present a list of circumstances when veterinary practice should scan from microchip on their website.
About Tuk from Facebook and quoted verbatim
“Tuk was a Romanian stray who was found alone on the streets of Brasov at 5 weeks old. Tuk was a stray. Tuk is now dead having been euthanised in the U.K. Tuk had everything an ex stray could need to keep him safe. He had full rescue back up, a breed specific rescue, a #TeamTuk behind him and most importantly he was MICROCHIPPED. That microchip did not save his life. It did not return him to those who loved him as many other dogs have been who were #lost or #stolen . Tuk was not scanned and no phone call to those registered on his microchip ever came. Tuk was euthanised…”