March 13, 2018 – The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and the British Veterinary Association have all welcomed the UK Government’s decision to outlaw the use of electric shock collars on dogs and cats in England. The use of shock collars has already been illegal in Wales since 2010, and the Scottish Government recently announced it was going to prohibit their use.
The UK Government’s Department for Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced proposals to ban the use of the devices on Sunday. The law change process begins with a public consulation which ends on April 20.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Samantha Gaines said: “Electric shock collars used to train and control cats and dogs are not only unacceptable as they can cause pain and fear, they are also unnecessary for long term behavioural change… they have no place in modern day pet ownership.”
“A survey carried out for the RSPCA’s #DogKind report found that while 88% of dog owners agreed that training shouldn’t frighten, worry or hurt dogs, a worrying 5% said they used electric shock collars.
Claire Horton, Battersea’s Chief Executive, said: “Battersea welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Environment Secretary’s consultation on banning electric shock collars. Battersea has long called for these cruel and unnecessary training devices to be prohibited, as it is never acceptable or necessary to apply electric shocks to an animal.
“We know that positive reinforcement techniques, such as reward-based training, are far more effective at changing a dog’s behaviour without inflicting unnecessary pain. The use of electric shock collars is already banned in Wales and the Scottish Government also recently announced their intentions to ban their use. We would urge England to follow their example.”
BVA President John Fishwick said: “We welcome the Government’s launch of a consultation on banning the use of shock collars in England and would like to see it result in an effective ban soon.
“Electronic training devices such as shock collars have been proven to cause pain and unnecessary suffering, and we know from leading veterinary behaviourists that using fear as a training tool is less effective than positive training methods, such as encouragement or rewards, and can take a toll on an animal’s overall welfare.
“We were in Westminster last week along with several animal welfare charities to highlight the issue and call upon Members of Parliament to back a ban on the use of shock collars. We were pleased to see several MPs pledge their support.”
BVA will continue to push for an outright ban on the sale and import of shock collars across the UK, it said in a media release.
Photo: The dog in the picture is not wearing a shock collar!