Electric shock dog collars still not banned despite SNP’s wish

This Hungarian pointer is not retained by an electronic collar?  and no dog should be, says Labor, calling on the SNP to ensure the pledge to ban them is kept.  Image: Getty Images / iStockphoto

This Hungarian pointer is not being restrained by an electronic collar and no dog should be, said the Labor Party, calling on the SNP to ensure that the pledge to ban them is honored. Image: Getty Images / iStockphoto

Earlier this year, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced the devices would be banned following pressure from animal rights groups.

Animal rights groups and charities like the Dogs’ Trust have argued that the collars, which have been used to train tough dogs, are cruel and cause unnecessary suffering.

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At the time, Cunningham said she had taken steps to “effectively and swiftly ban their use in Scotland”.

She said: “Causing pain in dogs by 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.”

Cunningham issued ministerial guidelines for the courts that would be considered in cases involving the unnecessary suffering of dogs through electric shock collars.

She added: “Anyone found causing pain to dogs by using collars or other devices can be prosecuted as they deserve.”

But in response to a parliamentary question from Colin Smyth of Labor, Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon suggested such devices could still be used.

Smyth asked the government “if the use of electric shock collars is allowed under all circumstances, following the introduction of its new guidelines on dog training aids?” “

In his response, Gougeon said: “The use of electronic training aids is not prohibited; however, the guidelines make it clear that causing unnecessary suffering through their improper use may, depending on the circumstances of the case, constitute an offense under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 if l user knew or should have known that would cause unnecessary suffering.

Smyth accused the Scottish government of failing to protect the animals and called for a full legislative ban to be introduced in Scotland.

“Electric shock dog collars are inhumane and unnecessary – and should be thrown in the trash,” Smyth said. “The SNP’s claim that this directive would ban their use has been denounced as an outright lie.

“Once again, they refuse to take the necessary measures to protect the animals. This is unacceptable.

“The SNP government must come up with a real legislative ban on these horrific contraptions before more dogs have to suffer.”

A Scottish government spokesperson explained that the guidelines were ‘advisory’ and made it clear that causing unnecessary suffering by using electronic training aids may be an offense under the Health and Welfare Act 2006 -be animals (Scotland) depending on the circumstances.

The spokesperson said: “The new guidelines explain that causing unnecessary suffering through the use of electronic dog collars can be a criminal offense depending on the circumstances. There is a commitment to review the effectiveness of the referral in 12 months.

“The guidelines have been agreed with the Kennel Club and major animal welfare organizations including Dogs Trust, Scottish SPCA and the British Veterinary Association.

“The Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee has also supported the guidelines. “

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