Continuing the arguments against compulsory microchipping, this was sent to me by Stephen McMurray of 7th Heaven Animal Rescue Trust in Northern Ireland. It was also published in Dog World in February 2014.

We, at 7th Heaven Animal Rescue Trust have been voicing our opposition to microchipping ever since it was made compulsory for dog owners in Northern Ireland to have their dogs chipped. I believe that certain parties are also trying to introduce it in the U.K. mainland. I urge your readers to fight this dangerous and unnecessary proposal as I can now prove, using official statistics, that microchipping simply doesn’t work.

Laboratory evidence and real life cases prove that RFID chips can cause cancer and tissue damage and as there is no health benefits whatsoever, we have long argued that it is unethical to carry out this dangerous and unnecessary medical procedure on our pets.

The initial reason compulsory micro-chipping was supposedly introduced was that it would curtail the amount of ‘dangerous dog’ attacks. This is patently preposterous.  Personally, I have never heard of a dog that is about to viciously attack someone think to itself, ‘Hi, hold on a minute, I have a piece of glass and metal inside my neck, I better not attack this person.’

The idea that it would stop people from keeping dangerous dogs because they could be tracked if their dog attacked is equally ludicrous. The type of people that use dogs as weapons are not usually the most law-abiding of citizens so the chances of them actually complying with this law are remote.

This brings us to the final reason given for microchipping-that it will re-unite more lost dogs with their owners.  Firstly, a name tag will do exactly the same job in this respect. Secondly, this idea supposes that most dogs in council pounds are lost when, in fact, most are unwanted and microchips will never solve this problem. You can force a microchip into a dog but you can’t force responsibility into an owner.

This point, that more dogs will be re-united with their owners, is the reason why most members of the public who agree with micro-chipping support it. Well, we can now lay to rest this myth once and for all. Under a freedom of Information Request, 7th Heaven Animal Rescue Trust has received the statistics from the local council pounds in Northern Ireland for the last 4 years – two years preceding the introduction of compulsory microchipping in April 2012 and the two years after the act was introduced*. These figures have been produced below.

Dogs Taken In      Dogs Returned to Owners   % figure of dogs returned

2010/11           6766                       2252                                    33.28%

2011/12           6708                      2102                                  31.34%

(Introduction of compulsory microchipping, April 2012)

2012/13          6242                       1970                                  31.56%

2013/14*        5895                        2002                                33.96%

Total number of dogs reunited to owners prior to legislation – 32.31%

Total number of dogs reunited to owners after legislation – 32.63%

The most glaringly obvious statistic, and the one that proves the fallacy of compulsory microchipping, is the percentage of dogs re-united with their owners. They are virtually identical for the period before and after compulsory microchipping was introduced.  You must also take into account the fact that it is also law in N.Ireland to have dogs displaying a tag with name and phone number so a lot of the dogs re-united with their owners would have been returned even if they weren’t microchipped.

It is obvious that microchipping dogs, with all the inherent health dangers, makes no difference whatsoever to the percentage of dogs reunited with their owners.  There are absolutely no benefits at all.

You will notice that the actual number of dogs being taken in after compulsory micorchipping was introduced compared to before its introduction is lower. This may look like a good thing. However, since the law was introduced, at least one council, Belfast City Council, refuses to take in unwanted dogs. They will only take in strays. Therefore if you do not want your dog anymore, you have nowhere to go as most charities are full with waiting lists that are months long. As you cannot just dump it outside to fend for itself, because the microchip will trace it back to you, the obvious answer to some people, unfortunately, is to put the dog down. The fact that some councils are also now charging to take in dogs and that can be more expensive than euthanasia means that owners may well be resorting to the lethal option. So much for compulsory microchipping being in the best interests of dogs.

You must also bear in mind that Northern Ireland has dog licencing and you cannot get a licence unless your dog is microchipped.  If microchipping is made compulsory in the rest of the U.K. you can bet that licensing legislation will also be introduced. How else can they force people to do it otherwise?

What your readers need to be asking the groups that are trying to get this legislation forced upon everyone, is what their real agenda is because it quite clearly isn’t the welfare of dogs.

*Statistics for the 2013/14 year where extrapolated from the 6 month period April 2013 to September 2014 as the request was made in October 2013

The case against compulsory microchipping began when it was announced in 2013 with a view to it being introduced in April 2016. Read more here: