All hound puppies born in England and Wales will be microchipped from next year, ahead of what the Hunting Office believes is an imminent change in the law.

With the Welsh Assembly expected to make the microchipping of dogs compulsory – and Westminster likely to follow suit – the new chairman of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA), Tim Easby, says hunts are getting “ahead of the game“.

“What is happening in Wales is really aimed at puppy farming, but of course there is a spin-off for everybody else,” said Mr Easby.

And earlier this year, environment minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach hinted that the government could make microchipping compulsory in England, to encourage “responsible dog ownership“.

Mr Easby said it was important that hunt kennels were ready for the change.

“All puppies born from 2013 onwards will be microchipped,” he said. “I am hoping to link up with a company that will provide the training [for hunt staff to microchip] and the equipment.”

With more than 2,500 foxhound puppies born each year – plus harriers and beagles – chipping the young entry will be a considerable task.

But Zetland huntsman David Jukes, who hosted a recent demonstration at his kennels (pictured above), said the procedure was “very simple”.

“It is just like giving a jab to a hound,” he added.

“It’s inevitable this will come in so it’s good that the old hunting world is getting there first.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (14 June 2012)