Monday, September 28, 2009

Support a new government database or the puppy gets it

This morning's Daily Telegraph carried new of yet another government database:

All dogs in Britain will be fitted with microchips which contain their owner’s details, under cross party plans designed to track family pets.

Owners will be forced to install the microchip containing a barcode that can store their pet's name, breed, age and health along with their own address and phone number.

The barcode's details would then be stored on a national database which local councils could access in a bid to easily identify an owner’s pet ...

If an owner failed to insert a chip, at an estimated cost of about £10, they could be fined or face the possibility of having their pet taken away.

The reasons the report given for the new database are that it will curb the trade in stolen dogs, prevent the use of animals in anti-social or violent incidents and reduce the "record number" of stray dogs being found on British streets.

But unless you have a pedigree dog, having it stolen is not a concern - the Telegraph cites the experience of Bruce Forsyth's daughter who "had her Yorkshire terriers snatched from the back of her BMW while she went shopping".

And however great the problem of dogs being used in violent incidents, their ownership being uncertain is surely not the problem.

So we are left with stray dogs. I am sure it is a good idea for people to have their dogs chipped, but is it such an issue in most areas that we need yet another compulsory national database to deal with it? I think not.

It would be wrong to finish without noticing a piece of sloppy journalism in the Telegraph report. We are told that experts say that being chipped is "relatively painless" for dogs.

Relative to what?


crewegwyn said...

Can something be "relatively painless"?

Surely "painless" implies an absence of pain? My English-Welsh dictionary offers di-boen or heb boen as direct translations, both of which [ 'un-pain' or 'without pain' ] convey an absence of pain.

So is there an English way of expressing degrees of moderate pain? Mildly painful?

Niles said...

While we're at it, I'm fairly sure that a "microchip containing a barcode" is nonsense too.

wolfi said...

These chips have already been adopted by the EU in combination with a blue EU dog/cat passport that includes medical data (e. g. rabies vaccinations). This is required if you take your pet to another country - at least it is easier and less time consuming than having your pet being inspected at the border for rabies (and paying for this too!)

dreamingspire said...

This is dog licensing again. So come clean, govt: you mean 'all dogs need a licence'.
I think that it will be found that all dog rescue organisations agree, but, sad though the plight of the dogs that they collect is, it must be only a very small fraction of the dog population.
It used to be the case that dogs got tipped out of cars on a stretch of motorway near me. Some, obviously without owner ID, made their way to a nearby farm, and the farmer and his son ran an informal re-homing operation around the nearby villages (like a knock on the door offering you a dog that was being led on a piece of string, and a request that you take it in).

wolfi said...

And of course, at least in Germany you need a licence for your dog and pay a tax, which is collected by the local government. Where I live it amounts to more than 120 € a year - also insurance is recommended, so it is not cheap to have a dog...

Frank Little said...

Will this proposal touch "puppy farms" and the people who buy from them?

wolfi - as I recall from my time in Germany, fear of rabies informs much of the legislation affecting domestic animals. Our pet dog had to wear a muzzle out of doors.

Big Brother said...

Lets go the whole way and install chips in humans. Its relatively painless and would end ballot fraud and benefit fraud. It would help the fight against organised crime and terrorism. It would replace the Oystercard and Library card.

There is a pilot scheme in North Korea I believe.