Thursday, July 20, 2006

Microchipping Community Cats

I spoke at length to a young man who mentioned that he is helping out with several animal groups but does not belong to any particular group, nor does he intend to. I don't think that you need to be part of any particular welfare organisation in order to have a voice - right now, the problem is that too many people say that they are just ordinary citizens, or they aren't 'animal welfare people' or they are just someone who cannot help out. I think it's great that people who aren't part of a group speak up - because most people aren't part of an animal welfare group, but I strongly believe that most people do believe animals should be treated well and not hurt or killed. We need these people to speak up and I wish this young man well.

He also brought up the question of whether community cats should be microchipped. I spoke with him about how I really do not believe in this because it just makes the cats too easy to track. Besides the cost, which could be better used to sterilise more cats and which would be financially very difficult for many caregivers to afford, I am worried that there may come a time when any cat without a microchip on the streets would be rounded up and killed. Sure - it may be that it may be practically difficult to round up and scan every cat - but why take the risk? Plus it isn't uncommon that town councils decide rather arbitrarily on the number of cats to be 'allowed' in an area, and that this number can often change, - so this will allow them to control the exact cats in the area by removing the ones that aren't microchipped if they decide that a cap has been breached, and this cap may change. So 10 cats in an area may become 5 tomorrow - and they will be able to monitor each one via microchip.

This may not happen - but why give more information than necessary? Right now, taking photos and tipping the cats' ears already identify the cats as being sterilised - why do they need to be able to correlate the exact cat to a number in their database?

Many countries oppose cat licensing - and I think a lot of the arguments against licensing (which is really what microchipping will do), are well summarised in the San Francisco SPCA's position paper.

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