Animal welfare groups accuse ministers of flip-flop on electric collar ban

Dog protection organizations have criticized the Scottish government for failing to introduce an ‘effective and speedy ban’ on electric dog collars.

A statement signed by the Kennel Club, Dogs Trust, Battersea Cat and Dogs Home and Animal Behavior and Training Council, among others, accuses the government of flip-flopping on its promised ban.

A group of multi-party MPs backed a call from SNP’s Christine Grahame accusing the government of “backtracking.”

The parliamentary motion notes calls for the devices to be “unequivocally prohibited”.

In January, the Scottish government said the devices would be banned in accordance with guidelines issued under current Holyrood legislation.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said after hearing concerns that she had “decided to take action to effectively and swiftly ban” the use of necklaces in Scotland.

She added: “Causing pain in dogs through improper training methods is clearly totally unacceptable and I want there to be no doubt that painful or unpleasant training for dogs will not be tolerated.”

She issued ministerial guidelines for courts in cases involving the use of shock collars on dogs, but last month her cabinet colleague, Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon, clarified that the devices were not prohibited.

In response to a parliamentary question from Colin Smyth of Labor, Ms. Gougeon declared that “the use of electronic training aids is not prohibited”.

She added that the guidelines issued mean that unnecessary suffering caused by using the collars may constitute an offense which depends on the user’s knowledge.

In a statement, dog protection organizations said: ‘We believe the Scottish government has failed on its promise to introduce an effective and swift ban on aversive training devices in Scotland.

“We no longer believe that the tips will be used effectively to educate dog owners that it is not appropriate to use unpleasant (aversive) stimuli or physical punishment, including electric collars to train a dog. dog.

“We are now calling on the Scottish government to introduce regulations that prioritize banning all aversive training devices.”

Scottish Conservative MP Maurice Golden, who launched a petition calling for a ban that has garnered 20,000 signatures, said he was disappointed by the government’s “backtracking”.

He said: “The voices of thousands of people who have expressed the desire to ban electric necklaces should not be ignored.

“It is time for the Scottish government to explain its exact position as it flips on this issue as dogs suffer from these harmful devices.”

The British government announced in August its intention to ban electronic shock collars for pets.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: ‘These claims are false – our position on this issue has not changed.

“The principle of introducing guidelines as a deterrent, and the wording of the guidelines themselves, were developed in consultation with the Kennel Club and a number of animal welfare organizations.

“It was also agreed that we would review the effectiveness of the guidelines after 12 months and consider whether improvements could be made. Criticism of the guidelines at this stage would seem premature at best.

“We expect our advice on electronic collars to be of real and practical benefit to dog owners in Scotland and to those involved in the enforcement of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2006 (Scotland) on the ground. “

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