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Electric shock collars for pets to be banned

The Kennel Club’s ten year campaign to #BanShockCollars has come to fruition with the announcement on Monday (27 August) that Defra will completely ban the use of remote control electric shock collars in England.

This follows a ban in Wales in 2010 and an effective ban in Scotland which will be introduced by way of guidance – a draft of which has recently been published. The action follows a public consultation on a proposed ban for all e-collars.

The consultation attracted over 7,000 responses. Around 50 percent of respondents specifically pointed out that they did not want containment fences banned. So, after listening closely to the views of pet owners and respondents, the government will not extend the ban to invisible fencing systems.

Research published by Defra concluded that the use of electric shock collars as a training method has a long term negative welfare impact on dogs. Furthermore, an independent survey commissioned by the Kennel Club in 2014 found that 73 percent of the British public were against the use of electric shock collars and 74 percent would support the government in introducing a ban on their use.

Remote controlled electronic training collars (e-collars) have a remote device that triggers an electronic pulse, which can be varied in strength, while others may spray a noxious chemical. As well as being misused to inflict unnecessary harm and suffering, there’s also evidence e-collars can re-direct aggression or generate anxiety-based behaviour in pets – making underlying behavioural and health problems worse.

With five percent of dog owners reportedly using electric shock collars, a complete ban on their use across the UK should mean half a million dogs will be saved from being trained by these devices.

Secretary of state Michael Gove said: “We are a nation of animal lovers and the use of punitive shock collars cause harm and suffering to our pets. This ban will improve the welfare of animals and I urge pet owners to instead use positive reward training methods.”

The Kennel Club added: “Although it is disappointing that the Welsh and Scottish governments recognised the importance of a ban on invisible electric fences and the Westminster government has not, the outright ban on remote control electric shock devices is very welcome and we applaud Defra for moving so quickly to ban them following the launch of their consultation.”

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