Vets Mull Microchip Privacy Issues

A concern is that microchip database information could give an unfair advantage to companies with access to those databases.

Legislative body of veterinarians to consider resolution at national conference.The American Veterinary Medical Association’s House of Delegates, the professional organization’s legislative body, will decide on Saturday whether the group should formally oppose the use of microchip registration databases for marketing purposes while endorsing their use strictly for reuniting animals and their owners.

Veterinarians favoring such a statement are concerned that if companies mined the databases for marketing purposes, pet owners would be less likely to register microchips and decrease their effectiveness in reunited pets and their owners. The veterinarians expect registrations would decline even if pet owners were given the opportunity to opt in (or out) of possible marketing efforts.

Another concern is that microchip database information could give an unfair advantage to companies with access to those databases.

On the other hand, database-based marketing and advertising campaigns could help offset costs of maintaining such databases, potentially reducing fees for pet owners.

At issue is not the use of microchips for identification purposes, but strictly the use of databases for other purposes.

If adopted, the resolution would be symbolic only.

The House of Delegates meets annually in conjunction with the AVMA’s annual convention. This year’s convention is in Washington, D.C.

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