Richard Holden MP for North West Durham spoke in Westminster Hall today, answering a petition on Tuk's law and Fern's law.
Whilst microchipping has been compulsory for dogs in England, Scotland and Wales since 2016, there are currently no legal requirements for veterinarians, local authorities or highways agencies to scan dogs or cats.
Tuk’s Law would ensure that no healthy or treatable pet can be euthanised by a vet without having its microchip scanned first and that no dog can be destroyed without the expressed permission of its registered keeper. The law would also ensure that all other options of rehousing a healthy or treatable pet have been exhausted before euthanasia.
The petition called on the Government to enact legislation to make scanning an animal’s microchip compulsory upon first presentation at a veterinary surgery and/or during the pet’s annual check-up.
Alarmed by dog thefts and attempted dog thefts in North West Durham and a rise in dog theft across the UK, Richard Holden launched a campaign to help protect animals, which you can read about here.
Commenting, Richard said:
"Necessarily removed from human contact, people have lent much more on ‘man’s best friend’ as a substitute. Animals have provided companionship, especially to the most vulnerable, and a necessary breathing-space for so many families that have otherwise been largely stuck indoors.
"With so many stuck at home and unable to see friends, pets have become more prized and demand for them, especially dogs, has jumped. Sadly, reports of dog-thefts have surged in the UK and now litter many local Facebook groups.
"Last year, I met with the Royal Veterinary College, Dogs Trust and other animal charities, including Farplace Animal Rescue based in North West Durham, and they also raised concern about another issue that’s on the rise and has been more acute during lockdown: so-called ‘puppy smuggling’ by organised crime gangs from Eastern Europe. Animals illegally being carted across the continent, with many dying in transit and others, without the proper vaccinations or paperwork, susceptible to bringing diseases, such as rabies, into the UK.
"Too often, it’s treated the same as a stolen bicycle but, as the pandemic has emphasised, our pets are far more than that.
"The compulsory scanning of pets will help us end this callous crime and keep our pets safe."
To hear more about the work that Richard is doing for North West Durham, you can sign up here or input your details in the form on this page.