A new qualification has been launched for the implantation of microchips in dogs, cats, rabbits and ferrets, in advance of the introduction of compulsory microchipping.
The Lantra Awards Level 3 Award in Performing Microchip Implantation in Animals provides, for the first time, an agreed standard for training and assessment.
It has been welcomed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which says it is a result of “excellent partnership working” between Lantra, the Government, vets, the microchip industry and animal welfare organisations.
A Defra spokesman said: “The new training is comprehensive and will give pet owners reassurance on the safety and reliability of microchipping when they have their pets microchipped, including under the compulsory microchipping of dogs or pet travel regulations.
“It introduces, for the first time, a standard training and assessment package with a qualification to replace differing training packages previously supplied by the microchip industry and others.”
More than 50,000 pets are reunited with their owners each year because they have been microchipped, but 38,000 dogs have to be rehomed each year, and another 8,000 destroyed, because they cannot be traced to their owners. Lost and stolen dogs cost the taxpayer and welfare charities £33m per year.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) also welcomed the new qualification, saying: “We believe mandatory microchipping of all dogs is an important step forward to help encourage responsible dog ownership. The provision of standards for training to implant microchips supports this by ensuring animal health and welfare is protected and the public can have confidence in their pets being microchipped.”
Microchipping of dogs will be compulsory in England from April 6, 2016.
Only approved corporate providers will be able to deliver the qualification and all assessors will have to attend a training event.