The Tortoise Protection Group is concerned at UK CITES' decision to insist that all tortoises of 60mm SCL (Straight Carapace Length) or above must be microchipped before they can be issued with an Article 10 Certificate. Previously tortoises could attain an SCL of anything up to 100mm before microchipping had to take place.
Whilst we applaud and support any legislation to reduce the trafficking of illegal tortoises, we do not believe in any legislation that causes undue pain and suffering to an animal, or in putting any animal's health at risk.
We have contacted a number of specialist reptile vets and over two dozen have taken the time to advise us that they do not agree with the microchipping of tortoises from 60mm SCL. A number of these have advised us that they have refused to microchip tortoises as small as 60mm

Burnham House Veterinary Surgery, Dover have kindly given us permission to use some x-rays they took for the Tortoise Protection Group. They clearly show the risk involved in microchipping tortoises as small as 60mm SCL, compared with a tortoise of 100mm SCL (Straight Carapace Length).

Fig 1

The microchip is sometimes inserted in the front leg, but is more often than not inserted in the rear leg.
Fig 1 Shows a tortoise with an SCL of 59.9mm (60mm for all intents and purposes) lying on top of a microchip. The relative size of the microchip to the rear leg is painfully large and it is very apparent that inserting a microchip of this size into a tortoise of this size may well cause problems.
This is of course merely the microchip, the applicator gun is larger still. 

Fig 2

Fig 2 shows a tortoise 101mm lying over a microchip. An Applicator Gun, the 59.9mm tortoise and a microchip to the right.
The relative size of the microchip to the larger tortoise's rear leg bone is far different to that of the smaller tortoise. When looking at the relative size of the applicator gun to the larger tortoise in comparison with the smaller tortoise it is very evident just how invasive and dangerous it is to microchip a tortoise at 60mm.

Fig 3

Fig 3 shows the 59.9mm tortoise lying over the Applicator Gun. In reality, the gun is inserted into a tortoise's leg, which releases the microchip. 
It is very evident that the Applicator Gun is as wide as the bone in the tortoise's rear leg. Imagine having an Applicator Gun as thick as your leg bone pushed into your own leg!

We will be writing to UK CITES with our x-ray evidence in the hope they will reconsider and re-instate the 100mm rule. We will also include the names and addresses of all the Reptile Specialist Vets who kindly took the time to contact us.

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