UK government faces calls to ban dog collars

Pressure is mounting on the UK government to follow in Scotland’s footsteps by banning the use of electric dog collars.

The Scottish government announced on Wednesday that a ban on the devices would be introduced through directives issued under current Holyrood legislation.

Now animal charities and Scottish politicians are calling on Westminster to ban collars, which are also banned in Wales.

Caroline Kisko, Secretary of the Kennel Club, said: “The time has come for the Westminster government to strengthen and show its commitment to the welfare of dogs.

‘Wales and Scotland are now committed to a total ban on the use of electric shock collars and it would be an extremely negative message to send about the importance of dog welfare if Westminster did not do the same. . “

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home also wants a UK-wide ban.

Dee McIntosh, director of home communications, said: “Battersea has long called for a ban on these cruel training devices because it is never acceptable to apply electric shocks to an animal.

“We believe that positive reinforcement techniques, such as reward-based training, are much more effective in changing a dog’s behavior without inflicting unnecessary pain.

“We are greatly encouraged by the decision of the Scottish government and urge the UK government to follow its example. “

Scottish Labor, SNP and Liberal Democrats have called for a legislative ban on the devices, which is a reserved question.

Liberal Democrat MP Liam McArthur praised animal charities for their campaign and said: ‘The next step is for the UK government to legislate to ban the import, sale and use of these devices across the board. the United Kingdom. All eyes will now be on the reaction of British ministers. “

Announcing the ban, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said causing pain to animals by “improper training methods is clearly totally unacceptable.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) added: “Last year we published new welfare codes for dogs, advising owners on the best way to meet the needs of their pets.

“It made it clear that they needed to be trained using reward-based techniques, including the use of toys, food, and praise.

“These codes are just part of the government’s drive to improve animal welfare, ranging from increasing maximum prison sentences up to five years to cracking down on unscrupulous puppy breeding. . “

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