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.