Universal Pet Microchip Scanner Needed

Posted on April 20, 2005

Using microchips to recover lost pets is a great idea. However, the Coalition for Reuniting Pets and Families reports that many pet microchips can only be read by a scanner from the same company that created the chip. This is because the companies have used encryption technology on the implanted chips. Therefore, a universal scanner is needed that can read all kinds of pet chips. John Snyder, senior director of companion animals and equine protection with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) said, "If the United States does not adopt a global scanner, pet owners run the risk of losing the beloved pet that the microchip is supposed to protect." The Coalition reports that the United States is one of the few countries that does not have universal scanning of pet chips in place:
In Europe and Canada, the animal welfare community already employs a scanner that can read all chips. And, consequently, the rate of pets returned to their owners is dramatically greater. For example, in the United Kingdom, where a scanner that can read all chips is in place, 47 percent of lost dogs are returned to their families -- that's more than twice the current rate of return in the United States!
Crystal Import Corp., the U.S. distributor of Datamars SA, a microchip manufacturer, recently did a survey and found that 59% of pet owners were unaware that many of the chips are encrypted and can only be read by proprietary technology. We certainly understand the need for competition in the marketplace but these are missing pets we are talking about! The Coalition for Reuniting Pets and Families, is an organization whose members include the Humane Society of the United States and the American Veterinary Medical Association. The Coalition is asking that chip and scanner manufacturers and marketers permit the use of a scanner that can read all microchips -- and that such a scanner be made readily available to shelters, animal control officers and veterinarians throughout the country. To encourage microchip manufacturers to come to an agreement, the Iams Company has offered to donate 30,000 global scanners to shelters and veterinarians (a $5 million donation) that can only be utilized pending the cooperation of all microchip manufacturers in the United States.

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