Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food
Following the successful passage of the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) (Wales) Regulations 2014 through the National Assembly for Wales, I am now writing to provide an update on the next steps regarding the proposal to introduce compulsory microchipping for all dogs in Wales.
I have advised in previous Written Statements that the date whereby all dogs should be microchipped in Wales, i.e., 1 March 2015, would be unlikely to be met.
In 2012, a consultation exercise took place on the general policy principles of microchipping all dogs in Wales. 84% of respondents were supportive of introducing compulsory microchipping for dogs. As work has progressed, specific areas of the policy have been developed with key stakeholders and now certain aspects need further attention. I have therefore determined that a further eight week focused consultation exercise should take place as soon as possible. This is in order to take wider views on some of the specific elements that I am proposing to include in the Regulations. These include enforcement, the matter of who actually undertakes the implantation of microchips, and how any information is recorded.
Following the consultation process and the drafting of the proposed Regulations, it is proposed that the Welsh Ministers will advise Member States via the European Commission about the Regulations. A standstill period of three months from the date of notification to the Commission will have to then be observed before the draft Regulations can be laid before the National Assembly for Wales.
Due to these commitments, we are now working to bring in compulsory microchipping for all dogs in Wales in the spring of 2016, in line with the date announced for compulsory microchipping in England.
Defra’s Microchipping Regulations have been introduced and the microchipping of dogs will be compulsory in England from April 2016. My officials will continue to work closely with counterparts in England on cross-border issues: dogs are moved routinely between England and Wales, and I recognise the value that close collaboration can bring. Given that providers of microchipping services work across Wales and England there is a need to harmonise standards and to synchronise our work with that taking place in England.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.