Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Charlie Brown, dog that bled to death from a mandated microchip implant procedure
Organizers are planning a candlelight vigil tomorrow in San Marcos, Texas, to protest the city’s ordinance requiring pets be implanted under the skin with an identifying microchip.
The protesters have already sent letters and informational packets to the city’s mayor, council members and animal control board members explaining their objections to the mandatory cost, perceived invasion of privacy and potential health risks of microchipping family pets.
“Chipping should be a voluntary decision made by a pet owner, in consultation with his or her veterinarian, after weighing the risks,” states Dr. Albrecht, a Harvard-trained researcher and privacy advocate. “It should never be required at the point of a government gun.”
The group’s candlelight vigil is being held in memoriam for Charlie Brown, a pet Chihuahua in California who bled to death after receiving a microchip implant.
As WND reported, Charlie Brown’s owners objected to the implant, but were compelled to comply with an ordinance requiring microchipping of pets in unincorporated Los Angeles County, only to watch their dog die of unexplained complications from the procedure.
“I wasn’t in favor of getting Charlie chipped, but it was the law,” said Lori Ginsberg, Charlie Brown’s owner. “This technology is supposedly so great until it’s your animal that dies.”
VeriChip, a major manufacturer of the microchip implants, touts the technology’s capability to identify a lost pet and enable its return home, while dismissing potential health risks.
“Over the last 15 years,” states the VeriChip website, “millions of dogs and cats have safely received an implantable microchip with limited or no reports of adverse health reactions from this life-saving product, which was recently endorsed by the USDA. These chips are a well-accepted and well-respected means of global identification for pets in the veterinary community.”
And while Albrecht doesn’t doubt the ability of the chips to return lost pets home, she explained to WND that the decision should be left to pet owners, not mandated by government.
“We think it is totally inappropriate to require people to do this,” Albrecht said. “Given that this is a very controversial technology – not just because of the medical risks associated with it, but for many people who have a moral, philosophical and even religious objection to these technologies – to mandate that someone has to do this really is an example of the government as an evil nanny state.”
Albrecht’s concern over government-mandated microchipping has been heightened lately by reports that the technology, with the support of the Obama administration, may be expanding beyond just family pets.
As WND reported, Janet Napolitano, the newly chosen chief of the Department of Homeland Security, advocates embedding radio chips into citizens’ driver’s licenses.
The “enhanced driver’s licenses,” as they’re called, would contain built-in radio chips providing an identifying number or information that can be accessed by a remote reading unit while the license is inside a wallet or purse.
“They’re actually talking about issuing every person a spychip driver’s license,” Albrecht told WND. “That is the potential problem.”
Imagine, she said, going to a First Amendment-protected event, a church or a mosque, or even a gun show or a peace rally.
“What happens to all those people when a government operator carrying a reading device makes a circuit of the event?” she asked. “They could download all those unique ID numbers and link them.”
Participants could find themselves on “watch” lists or their attendance at protests or rallies added to their government “dossier.”
She said even if such license programs are run by states, there’s virtually no way that the databases would not be linked and accessible to the federal government.
Michigan State Rep. Paul Opsommer, R-DeWitt, a recent guest on Albrecht’s radio show, explained why many Americans object to the government mandating citizens carry identifying information on a scannable chip:
“If EDLs are the new direction for secure licenses in all states, it just reinforces what many have been telling me that DHS wants to expand this program and turn it into a wireless national ID with a different name,” he said. “We’ll wake up one day and without a vote in Congress DHS will just pass a rule and say something like ‘starting next month you will need an EDL to fly on a plane, or to buy a gun, or whatever.’”