Editorial: July-August 2006
New location, new outlook!
Well, I can now inform you all that I have been busy shifting house over the last couple of months, and am now based in Stoke on Trent, UK. Rather a different outlook fom Hamilton, New Zealand (NZ), but very pleasant.
One of the most pleasant observations for me is that we have three dogs here and seem to fit in with most other people as dog lovers. I had begun to think in New Zealand that I owned a dog IN SPITE of the rest of the population and authorities.
There is not even a dog registration fee in UK, but I would venture to say that the border control here is even more stringent than in NZ, proving that a registration "fee" is simply a fundraiser, let alone the extra funds to be raised by the new microchipping requirement in NZ. A large number of owners in UK have had their dogs microchipped because they want to be able to positively identify their own dog if stolen and sold. It is usually very loved or very expensive or valuable dogs that are microchipped here.
But in NZ there is to be a compulsion which means vets are rubbing their hands together with glee at the often $100-or-more fee that they contemplate earning per microchip (microchips cost about $15 each, or less when bought in bulk) and the government is set to benefit from the database registration fee - a doubling up of registration that it freely admits will not prevent one single dog attack or do anything at all to find a dog that has attacked anyone (unless potential victims walk around with multi-scanners in their pockets!).
Like most dog owners I fail to see any benefit coming from such a database, which will be a duplicate of local body registration, and which will serve to negate the reason many New Zealanders have already had their dogs microchipped - for identification if stolen or strayed. It has already been stated that the government's database will not be bothering to match new owners against theft or lost reports - it is a simple "dog control" database with number and owner, nothing else.
I am afraid I can see the future of microchipping in NZ - a large extra cost to all new puppy owners (which will further limit ownership to the rich), and no service or contact from then onwards - a lesson in futility.
In stating that they would boycott the microchipping en masse, New Zealand farmers seem to be the only ones with working brains. They must win if they stick together on this. Good on them. This law comes under the heading "perks for the boys" and serves no purpose other than to help fund MPs' golden handshakes and allow quicker and easier destruction of any dog without a microchip (and how is the staff at any government pound going to tell, for approximately the next 15 years, whether each dog that comes into their facility is of an age where it should be microchipped ... or not? They would need to know its exact age, to the month!)
It will be a sad day for the collective anti-dog mentality of New Zealand - July 6 if I remember correctly - and one that will mark the beginning of many mistakes to come, a whole lot of inefficiencies, and as usual nobody will be to blame, nobody will be responsible and nobody will have the authority to change anything. - Elezabeth