Environment Secretary Michael Gove is considering a consultation on banning devices that give pets an electric shock.
They can be used to train pets or keep them confined to an area by laying an underground cable which can create an invisible “fence”.
Last month, an RSPCA of 3,000 dog owners found that 5% used electric shock collars.
Reviews of collars that can give electric shocks for 11 seconds at a time include the RSPCA, Dogs Trust and Cats Protection.
Supporters include the charity Feline Friends and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation.
The policy could cause a split in the Cabinet pitting Mr Gove, a dog lover, against Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, a cat lover.
According to unconfirmed reports, Mr Grayling used the “virtual fence” system to keep his cats in his garden in south-west London.
Electric collars were banned in Wales in 2010 and Mr Gove, who owns two dogs including a Bichon Frize called Snowy, is under pressure to extend the ban to England.
The head of the RSPCA Pet Department, Dr Samantha Gaines, said: ‘We support a ban on these collars because scientific research clearly shows that the application of an electric shock can cause both physiological stress response and behaviors associated with pain, fear and stress in animals, thus impacting their well-being.
“Furthermore, as animals trained with these devices may exhibit behaviors associated with pain and fear both during training and some time afterwards, the use of shock collars may have long-term effects.
“Such techniques are both unacceptable and unnecessary because reward-based training, where desirable behavior is rewarded with praise, toys, and treats, allows for long-term behavior change and does not subject the animal in pain or distress.”
The Dogs Trust, which runs its ‘Shockingly Legal’ campaign, has also called on the government to ban electric shock collars, saying: ‘These torturous devices can send between 100 and 6000 Volts to a dog’s neck and have the ability to continuously shock a dog for up to 11 terrifying seconds at a time.
Dogs Trust campaign aims to ban electric dog collars
“Research shows that physical effects can include yelping, squealing, squatting and physiological signs of distress in direct response to electric shock.
“While the use of electronic shock collars is banned in Wales and Scotland has also taken steps to ban the use of these cruel devices, England is dragging its feet.
“Only Westminster has the power to ban the sale of electronic shock collars, so Dogs Trust urges members of the public to tweet their MP using the hashtag #ShockinglyLegal to help bring this important issue to light.”
Environment Secretary Michael Gove plans consultation on device ban
Cats Protection also said it was opposed to the use of electronic collars while the National Cat Adoption Center said it was opposed to any collars other than quick-release ones for cats because they can get caught in the undergrowth while playing, hunting or even trying to escape danger.
But the charity Feline Friends, which says up to 300,000 cats get run over in the UK every year, has backed the use of electric collars as part of a ‘virtual fence’ scheme.
He commissioned research from veterinarians at the University of Lincoln who two years ago found no evidence of long-term welfare issues in cats living with these fences, compared to capable cats. to move freely in and out of their owners’ gardens. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One.
Professor Daniel Mills, Professor of Veterinary Behavioral Medicine at the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences, said at the time: “While some will argue that electronic containment systems can never be justified for pets, others point out that in the UK alone tens of thousands of cats are killed and injured on the roads every year and these devices can prevent these often fatal injuries and emotional cost to cats and their owners.
BASC said a ban on electronic dog collars would be “disproportionate”.
Glynn Evans, head of game and deer management at BASC, said: “A ban on the use of these training aids could remove the solution to remedy the behavior of some problem dogs.
Man uses SHOCK COLLAR on wife in ‘disgusting’ video
“There is little scientific evidence that these aids are inherently harmful to dog welfare, and no convincing evidence of long-term welfare effects if the collars are used according to manufacturers’ instructions. “
Mr Grayling was not available to comment on how he controls his cats.
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: ‘The government is currently reviewing the matter.