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Both micro-tagging and tattooing are methods of uniquely marking an animal in order that its origins and ownership can be identified beyond reasonable doubt. There are two clear reasons for marking or tagging an animal in this way.

Pet Insurance companies will appreciate your active approach to ensuring that your pet can easily be identified and returned to its owner. Many pet insurance providers will insist on your pet being mircor chipped to qualify for the maximum cover should your pet become lost or stollen.

The first is in order that if it is lost or stolen, it can be positively identified and re-united with its owner when and if it is recovered. The second reason is to comply with regulations set by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in respect of the movement of livestock around the country and to allow certain animals to leave and return to the UK without the need for quarantine on re-entry. This is commonly known as The Pet Travel Scheme and applies to the micro-chip system only.


This method has been around for many years and is mainly used on cats, dogs and farmed livestock. The animal receives a unique number tattooed into its ear. This number is then recorded with a national register and allows officials to maintain movement records in the case of stock and. It is cheap and simple to do, but practitioners will admit that the animal being marked does undergo a degree of discomfort. The disadvantages with this system are that tattoos can fade and be altered.


This is the most up to date method of property marking that has been very successfully adapted for use on pets. A minute microchip containing a unique number is inserted below the animal's skin by way of an injection. By scanning the animal using an electronic 'reader', the number can be identified and all the registered information concerning the pet - age, ownership, vaccination history etc., can be retrieved from a national database. This system is promoted by the RSPCA, The Kennel Club of Great Britain, local authorities throughout the country and is recognised by DEFRA as the most reliable and humane method of identifying individual animals.

The RSPCA adopted the policy of microchipping every animal that it re-homes. The service is widely available and most veterinary practices and reputable kennels will do it for you. Many local authorities, animal rescue centres and veterinary surgeries are equipped with the scanners. More information can be obtained by visiting the RSPCA or the PetLog web sites on the internet.

If you intend to insure your animal against loss or theft, many policy providers insist on the fitting of a microchip identification system. It is relatively cheap, easily available and humane.

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