Is it right to ban electric shock collars for dogs and cats?


Electric shock collars for dogs and cats must be banned – but as many animal lovers celebrate, advocates of these ‘remote trainers’ warn the move will ‘criminalise’ hundreds of thousands of pet owners .

Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced the ban this week. He said: “We are a nation of animal lovers and the use of punitive shock collars causes harm and suffering to our pets.

“This ban will improve animal welfare and I urge pet owners to use positive reward training methods instead.”

Used as training devices, remote control collars can trigger an electrical pulse of varying strength or spray harmful chemicals at the animal. The devices cause dogs to bark, scream, crouch and exhibit physiological signs of distress, the Dogs Trust said.

The charity also warns that collars, which can continuously shock a dog for 11 seconds, can make the animal’s behavior worse.

A dog wearing a shock collar

Dr Rachel Casey, Director of Canine Behavior and Research for the Dog’s Trust, said: ‘Scientific research has shown that electronic devices that deliver an aversive stimulus have a negative impact on the well-being of dogs, so this ban will have a major positive impact for dogs in Britain.”

The use of collars has been banned in Wales and earlier this year Scotland began banning dog owners from using them. But only the British government can ban their sale nationwide.

Dog trainer Liz Gill, 40, from Stoke – who runs Calmer Canine – said: ‘I think it’s fantastic. You don’t need to make your dog suffer unnecessarily – these animals are meant to be our best friends.

“When I do consultations, I tell people to throw away these necklaces. I see a lot of them, I even see prong collars, which are supposed to prevent a dog from pulling by causing pain. But using shock collars or anything that causes pain is just awful.

Liz says she teaches dog owners to communicate with their pets through body language and gestures that animals also use and understand. She says it’s a much more effective method than using pain or fear.

Cassie Fletcher of Cellarhead-based Animal Lifeline said: ‘To me they are a hideous thing that should never have been introduced in the first place. This kind of thing constitutes cruelty. Why anyone would think such a thing is beyond me.

But Mr Gove has been accused of backtracking after letters from his department suggested there was not enough evidence to ban electric shock collars, weeks before plans to ban on their use are announced for the first time.

A letter sent by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in February, seen by the Press Association, suggested there was insufficient evidence to support a prohibition.

The document, sent to the Royal Veterinary College, noted that the scientific research it had commissioned “was not strong enough to support a ban” on “electronic dog training aids”.

Dog trainer and campaigner Jamie Penrith – of which Take The Lead Training is a major supplier of the ECT Educator range of electronic collars – said the government had ‘insufficient evidence’ to suggest the devices harm pets. company.

Ian Gregory, a lobbyist for pet collars, said: “The Secretary of State should refrain from feeding the nation’s pets Twitter wolves.

“Anecdotal issues reported with pet collars can be addressed through product standards rather than banning proven technology.

“The hundreds of thousands of dog owners using a remote trainer don’t deserve to be criminalized.”


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