Latvia plans mandatory microchipping of cats; vets disagree

Veterinary Care Law amendments, which the parliament has started viewing, provide that not only dogs but also cats and ferrets should be registered and microchipped, LSM's Latvian-language service reports Thursday.

In the first reading, the Saeima backed amendments stipulating that the fact of pets – dogs, cats, ferrets – breeding should be registered by putting a checkmark in the Domestic Animals Register. At the moment this is only mandatory for dog owners, but it is estimated that only about 30 to 40 per cent comply with the rule.

Those letting their animals breed must be trained in animal welfare and protection, the law says. Compliance would be monitored by the Food and Veterinary service. 

It is also planned to set a rule for cat and ferret owners to have their pet microchipped before it is four months old.

The Latvian Veterinary Society objects to the changes. In a statement to the media, the association states that the microchipping will not solve stray cat problems especially in rural areas. Chipping is advised for those cats which go out in the city, travel with their owners, take part in exhibits and other public events where there is a risk of getting lost. The chip helps in identifying and contacting the owner.

The vets have indicated that the responsible Saeima committee has been unable to provide arguments why all old, indoor, and sterilized outdoor cats should be microchipped. 

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