The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed environment secretary Michael Gove’s announcement banning the use of “cruel” electric shock collars in dogs and cats in England, following a public consultation earlier this year.
BVA has worked alongside campaigners to ban these aversive training methods across the UK for several years and welcomed effective bans on the devices in Wales in 2010 and in Scotland in January this year.
BVA president John Fishwick said: “We’re delighted by the government’s decision to impose a ban on the use of electric shock collars in dogs and cats after a long and sustained campaign by BVA and other organisations.
“Electronic training devices such as electric collars have been proven to cause pain and unnecessary suffering, and we know from leading veterinary behaviourists that using fear as a training tool negatively impacts an animal’s overall welfare and is far less effective than positive training methods, such as encouragement and rewards.”
He added: “This decision is a big win for animal welfare in England, and we would now like to see similar action taken in Northern Ireland, as well as a UK-wide ban on the sale and import of electronic training devices.”
The government has also announced that it will not extend the ban to invisible fencing systems, which can keep pets away from roads and potential traffic accidents. While BVA’s current policy on aversive training devices does not call for a ban, it is looking into latest evidence on their use and effectiveness and, till then, asking for the use and sale of these devices to be regulated.
Fishwick added: “As we review the latest evidence on the welfare impact of pulse pet containment fences, we would like to see them covered by a code of practice, as well as the regulation of the sale of these devices and manufacturer’s instructions, to ensure that the potential adverse effects of use are highlighted to animal owners and consumers.
“Anyone in need of advice on dealing with pet behaviour issues, such as potentially dangerous roaming in cats and dogs, should always speak to their vet on how to do it positively, humanely and effectively.”