Introduce new legal requirements for vets prior to euthanasia of dogs & cats

Despite changes to the RCVS Code of Conduct dogs/cats can still legally be euthanised without being scanned. In non-emergencies, we want vets to be legally required to scan microchips prior to euthanasia for RBU and confirm the person presenting the animal is registered on the microchip.

22,326 Signatures

Thursday 14th March 2024
Last 24 hours signatures
Signature Deadline
Saturday 14th September 2024
Estimated Final Signatures: 24,557

Reticulating Splines

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Tuk's Law request vets be required to:
- Scan microchips prior to euthanising a healthy/treatable animal in a non-emergency situation
- Confirm RBU/keeper on original database of unknown animals presented for euthanasia.
- Seek alternative options in non life threatening/non emergency situations
- Require corroborating evidence if an unsubstantiated reason for euthanasia is made

Failure to scan microchip and contact RBU or registered keeper should result in an independent investigation involving all interested parties.

Petition Signatures over time

Government Response

Friday 19th April 2024

Vets are already required to scan a dog’s microchip prior to euthanasia where they consider it is not necessary on health or welfare grounds and check for alternative contacts.

Advice about euthanasia is laid out in the guidance underpinning the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons, which all veterinary surgeons practising in the UK must adhere to. Where a veterinary surgeon considers a request for euthanasia is not in the best interest of the animal, they can challenge this.

In 2021, the RCVS code was updated to require veterinary surgeons to scan for a microchip in dogs prior to euthanasia where, in their professional judgement, it is not necessary on animal health or welfare grounds. This ensures that the veterinary surgeon can check the microchip record to confirm that the person presenting the animal is the registered keeper and also see if anyone else has declared an interest in the animal, such as a rescue centre. This information can help inform consideration about alternatives to euthanasia.

Veterinary surgeons work on the basis of the information provided to them and exercise their own professional judgement in this regard. Requiring vets to demand proof of assertions made by their clients may negatively impact the vet/client relationship.

As the veterinary regulator, the RCVS investigates all concerns raised about veterinary surgeons and registered veterinary nurses. These include concerns that relate to a veterinary surgeon’s professional conduct, such as where there are significant departures from the standards set out in their code.

Later this year, Defra will be carrying out an exercise to consider how the new requirements on scanning prior to euthanasia RCVS’ have bedded in, taking stakeholder views into consideration.

In March, we published our response to a consultation on microchipping reform which can be found here: Cat and dog microchipping consultation - GOV.UK ( Our proposed reforms will make it easier for veterinary surgeons to access microchip database information through a new Single Point of Search portal, which will help support them meet their obligations to scan prior to euthanasia. Additionally, where ‘back-up support’ is registered on a microchip record, this will be flagged on the information returned by a search using the Single Point of Search portal.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Constituency Data

Reticulating Splines