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Microchipping – now mandated for all llamas born after April 2009 and all llamas that change hands from now on.

It has been very clear to the BLS Board that some form of mandatory identification and registering of all camelids is likely to be imposed by DEFRA. BLS already operates an effective registration system but so far has not asked members to use a method of identification such as ear tags or microchips. Nobody who owns a llama wants to see the mandated use of ear tags: they are unsightly but more importantly, because llamas are browsers, there is a real danger that they could be ripped out, leading to ear damage. Martin Hillson, one of our Welsh members, had a look at the pros and cons of microchipping and his article on the topic was published in the December 2008 Newsletter. Martin concluded that microchips were widely used in a variety of animals with a very low incidence of problems. Camelids are the only large animal now that DEFRA do not legislate for mandatory identification. Most animals have to be microchipped and ear tagged. We must be seen by DEFRA to be the responsible Society that we are and with our Registry and identification of animals in place, we feel this will be achieved.

The BLS Board has concluded that the use of microchips for the identification of llamas should be introduced from 2009. However the Board also felt that, since this was such an important and perhaps controversial topic, the membership should be asked to approve this move at the Annual General Meeting.

The final resolution for discussion and voting was: That all llamas changing ownership and all crias born after April 2009 must be microchipped. The resolution was well publicised before the meeting to allow members to join in the debate or to vote by proxy should they not be able to get to the AGM. At the AGM views for and against the proposal were put forward and debated, and the meeting overwhelmingly voted in favour of adopting this resolution.

The Society has purchased a stock of microchips at a very advantageous price of £4.15 each. They can be obtained by sending a padded SAE to Liz Butler
, Nutfield Park Farm, SOUTH NUTFIELD, Surrey RH1 5PA together with full payment made out to the British Llama Society. This price is very reasonable and once the microchips are gone, a new quote will have to be obtained. Make the most of this great offer now.

Insertion tools can also be borrowed and the chips come with instructions on where they should be inserted in the necks of the llamas. This is easily done by your vet and can be combined with a vaccination visit to keep costs down. Reports from several members who have already had chips inserted is that it is quick and easy and causes minimum discomfort to the animal, none of whom have suffered any ill effects.