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Scottish government confirms electric shock dog collar ban

The use of electric shock dog collars is to be banned in Scotland, the Scottish government has confirmed.

The decision comes off the back of a long-running campaign by Scottish Conservative MSP Maurice Golden, the Kennel Club, the Animal Behaviour and Training Council, and the Scottish SPCA.

The government initially decided in November to allow the sale and use of the collars which are used as training devices.

The campaigners has also called on the UK government to do the same.

According to the BBC, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham made the decision after listening to the concerns of the campaign group.

Cunningham said: “I have decided to take steps to effectively and promptly ban their use in Scotland.

“Causing pain to dogs by inappropriate training methods is clearly completely unacceptable and I want there to be no doubt that painful or unpleasant training for dogs will not be tolerated.”

She added: “I will therefore be issuing strong ministerial guidance on the use of all painful training devices for courts to take into consideration in any cases brought before them regarding unnecessary suffering through the use of these devices.”

The government has since published its initial draft guidance on the ban.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) welcomed the decision.

Melissa Donald, BVA Scottish branch president, said: “This is a real win for animal welfare. Electronic training devices have a negative, painful effect on dogs and, as Scottish Government has now recognised, can cause unnecessary suffering.

“We know from leading veterinary behaviourists that using fear as a training tool is less effective than positive reinforcement and can take a toll on the dog’s overall welfare.”

She added: “We are grateful to Scottish Government for listening to the expert advice from veterinary surgeons and behaviourists who have first-hand experience of what can go wrong when aversive training methods are used to control and punish animals.”

BVA will continue to push for an outright ban on the sale and import of shock collars across the UK. John Fishwick, BVA President, added:

“With effective bans on the use of these devices in Wales and Scotland, we want to see action taken in England and Northern Ireland, including a UK-wide ban on their sale and import.

“Anyone in need of advice on dealing with pet behaviour issues should always speak to their vet to get advice on how to do it positively and humanely.”

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