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UK Government’s critical animal welfare manifesto: every cat microchipped

Stray ginger cat lies on ground cat-serious
© Pixabay

Amid a raft of animal welfare proposals announced at the Conservative Party conference, the government said it intends to make mandatory the micro-chipping of cats.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 30/09/2019, 16:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:40

Fortunately for the average Joe, the Tory Party conference in Manchester this week includes a timetable of matters other than Brexit.

In light of the upcoming divorce from the EU, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his team have turned their attention to post-Brexit matters. Already announced are sweeping changes to animal welfare in the UK.

Despite the reforms being only a consideration rather than a commitment, many observers see them as forming at least part of a Tory manifesto in the event of a general election.

The reforms are wide-reaching and sensible, and will meet the approval of those who are keen to see the British government do more to reduce animal cruelty, and further reduce the carbon footprint of the UK.


At present, cats are not required to be micro-chipped by their owners. The government’s proposal is that all cat owners must chip their pets and, if not, expect to be fined. Dog owners who do not chip their pets by the time the animal is eight weeks old can be prosecuted and fined £500.

Microchipping is generally considered to be a wise move. The chipping of dogs allows a more timely reunion of dog and owner in the event that the animal is lost. But so too does it go some way to tackling the problem of an increasing number of strays, which costs the tax payer an estimated £57 million per year.


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Canine microchip implanting was made a legal requirement in 2016. Since then 7.34 million dogs have been chipped, according to Government figures.

The estimate for the total cat and dog population of the UK is 16 million with 8.5 million dogs subject to mandatory microchip implant.

A free microchip is available for all unchipped dogs in England thanks to support from Dogs Trust.

The government believes the microchipping of cats will similarly aid feline rehoming charities.