Push for end to use of cruel electronic shock collars

Push for end to use of cruel electronic shock collars

The British Veterinary Association has urged members in Englnd to help  put an end to the use of electronic shock collars.

The body wants vets to contact their local MP and ask them to urge the Government to deliver on its commitment to ban these aversive training devices for dogs and cats.

Under draft Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (England) Regulations 2023, laid before Parliament in May this year, it will be a punishable offence for a person to attach an electronic shock collar to a dog or cat in England from 1 February 2024. However, while the regulations have been passed by the House of Lords, there is yet to be a date set for its reading in the House of Commons,.

In Wales these electric shock collars were banned in 2010 and anyone found guilty of using them on a dog or cat is liable to up to a year in prison and/or a fine, however Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK to have no legal restrictions on the use or sale of shock collars.

In 2018, the Scottish Government published guidance advising against the use of these devices and other aversive training methods. although campaigners continue to push for a full ban.

Talking on the issue, BVA Senior Vice President Justine Shotton said: “We’re an animal-welfare-focused profession; this is front and centre of what vets do. Research shows that using fear and punishment as a training tool not only takes its toll on an animal’s overall welfare, but it is also less effective than positive methods.

“With Parliament set to return after summer recess next month, we’re urging members of the veterinary profession to write to their local MP to highlight the importance of getting this vital bill over the line and into law.”

template letter can be downloaded for vets to send to their local MPs.

A robust body of research, including a notable study by the University of Lincoln (2019), shows that the application of electric shocks, even at a low level, can cause stress, pain and fear and that positive training methods are more effective in terms of the animal’s health, welfare and behaviour. A recent YouGov poll by The Kennel Club found that 77% of the public support a ban on these aversive training devices.