Let’s Talk: Should the Government Order All Dogs to Have Microchips?

Mandatory microchipping for dogs may soon become legal in Britain. How would you feel if the same thing happened here?


A law making microchips mandatory for all dogs is expected to pass handily within the next few days in Britain. If it does, all dogs would be microchipped as puppies in an effort to track owners of dangerous dogs.

Some are applauding the measure, but many are condemning it as ill-planned and ineffective. They doubt that people who breed backyard fighters will be arriving at the vet’s with armloads of puppies to microchip.

“If we’re not careful, we’re going to make things more difficult for legitimate dog owners, and not solve the real problem of dangerous dogs,” said Neil Parish, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on animal welfare.

Others have complained that it’s just too much government. Some owners who would never dream of not having these rice-size identification pellets injected under their own dog’s neck skin are balking at the compulsory nature of the law.

“It feels a bit Orwellian,” says Benjamin Chase, whose dogs are both microchipped. “Doing it because you want to is one thing. Being told by the government to do it is quite another.”

Of course, microchips are essential tools in helping reunite lost dogs with their owners. If the lawmakers’ reason for mandating microchips had been to help people find their lost dogs and keep down the number of strays at shelters, that may have been easier to stomach.

“I might not mind it were for the welfare of the pets,” says Chase, “but forcing all owners to comply in order to track down a small percentage of dangerous dogs reminds me of school, when the whole class would be punished because of one kid.”

What do you think? Is mandatory microchipping a good idea, regardless of the reason for the law? Is it long overdue, or does it get under your skin — literally! — as too much government interference? If it’s mandatory, should owners bear the cost, or should government kick in? Is it really that much different from mandatory rabies vaccines? Let’s talk!

Sources: The Guardian, The Daily Mail, BBC, original interview

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