Data released yesterday (6 August) by The Kennel Club shows the majority of the British public wants to see a ban on electric shock collars.
77 per cent of Brits said they believe the devices, which punish a dog for unwanted behaviour by delivering a shock to their neck via a remote control, should be banned, and more widely, 56 per cent of dog owners don’t think the Government is doing enough to protect animal welfare in the UK.
Whilst a ban on electric shock collars has been promised, no date has been set for the final stage of the law to be passed through Parliament, putting it at risk of being dropped completely. The Kennel Club, the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to dog health and welfare, is urging the Government not to delay.
Extensive evidence, including research funded by Defra - the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, shows that shock collars not only cause unnecessary harm and suffering for dogs, but they also do not create a greater deterrent for disobedience and do not result in better learning or behavioural outcomes.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council have also highlighted that the vast majority of livestock worrying incidents involve dogs that have escaped from their homes, with Lord Benyon, Defra Minister, claiming ‘these are cases that hand-controlled e-collars could not have prevented’. Meanwhile the National Farmers Union recognise that for the minority of cases which involve dogs being walked, keeping a dog on a lead in the vicinity of livestock will be the most effective route to preventing livestock worrying, and the police have also been clear that they would not recommend the use of e-collars to prevent instances of livestock worrying.
The Kennel Club, which has campaigned for a ban on these unnecessary devices for over 10 years, is calling for the public to write to Defra showing their support for the ban, and urging decision-makers not to delay. Dog lovers can find a template letter on our website.
This comes after the Kept Animals Bill, a long-delayed law which promised to crackdown on several significant animal welfare issues, including puppy smuggling and pet theft, was abandoned by the Government in May this year. Ministers had hailed this bill as part of making the UK ‘a world leader on animal welfare’ and that it would create ‘the world's strongest’ protections for animals.
“We urge dog lovers across the UK to support this ban and put pressure on the Government to follow through with their promises for animal welfare,” commented Mark Beazley, Chief Executive at The Kennel Club.
“After the Kept Animals Bill, which should have brought in laws to tackle the cruel puppy smuggling trade and crackdown on heartbreaking pet theft, was delayed time and time again, and then abandoned entirely earlier this year, we are really concerned that important animal welfare issues are disappearing from the political agenda, along with promises for long overdue and vital protections for the nation’s much-loved pets.
“Research has shown there is absolutely no need for cruel shock collars, which cause physical and psychological harm, given the vast array of positive training methods available.
“We urge the Government to keep its promise and ban these devices as a priority. Their reputation to deliver on commitments is waning after other animal welfare legislative proposals have been dropped and since no date has been set to bring in this ban – which is already in place in Wales. Shock collars were also banned in France earlier this year, and in Scotland an independent Animal Welfare Commission has recommended a complete ban on their use. Meanwhile, in England, we are still waiting for a date to get a ban passed once and for all.
“This long-awaited piece of legislation, and action on animal welfare, must not be delayed.”
More information about The Kennel Club’s campaign to ban shock collars, and instructions for those who wish to write to Defra are available over on our website.