Leading dog welfare organisations join forces with North East Scotland MSP to call for ban on electric shock collars

The Kennel Club and Scottish SPCA have welcomed a recent motion, tabled by Maurice Golden, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party MSP for North East Scotland, that calls on the Scottish Government to introduce a ban on the use of electric shock dog collars.

Electric shock collars are devices that deliver an electric shock to the dog’s neck via a remote control, up to a radius of two miles – meaning a dog not within sight of its owner could still receive the stimulus - and for up to 11 seconds at a time. The Kennel Club has long-campaigned for a ban on these devices, alongside SSPCA, RSPCA, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, the British Veterinary Association and Blue Cross. Wide-ranging evidence has demonstrated the detrimental effect these can have on the welfare of dogs and, in 2019, a study carried out by the University of Lincoln showed that electric shock collars were no more effective in training than positive reinforcement and dogs’ well-being was compromised, even when used by ‘professional’ e-collar trainers. They have been banned in Wales since 2010 under The Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (Wales) Regulations and this month the French Government has also banned these aversive devices.

Following extensive research and a public consultation, the Scottish Government introduced Guidance condemning the use of shock collars in 2018, and hailed this an ‘effective ban’ on the use of these devices . However the Guidance has since proven to be ineffective in stopping the use of these devices and, as a result, Maurice Golden MSP has tabled a motion calling on the Scottish Government to introduce Regulations to ban their use.

Maurice Golden MSP said: “Electric shock collars are not only harmful to our pets, but extensive research has clearly shown that they fundamentally do not fix the cause of ‘undesirable’ behaviour.

“The use of these inappropriate training devices is unacceptable and we urgently need tougher Regulations that prohibit the use of them completely.”

Mark Beazley, Chief Executive at The Kennel Club said: “The Kennel Club has long campaigned for a ban on electric shock collars and we are pleased to see that Maurice Golden MSP has brought the issue forward once again in the Scottish Parliament.

“We were delighted when the Scottish Government pledged to ban the use of these devices in 2018. Unfortunately, this has since proven to be ineffective, and as such we believe that Regulations urgently need to be introduced in order to stop the unnecessary suffering of dogs.”

Scottish SPCA chief executive, Kirsteen Campbell, said: "The Scottish SPCA received 47 reports to its animal helpline regarding electric shock collars being used on dogs from 2019 to 2021. In 2021, we conducted a survey of over 2,800 members of the Scottish public and found that 83% of respondents supported a total ban on the use of collars that give a dog an electric shock.

"We have been rehabilitating dogs for decades without using methods that cause fear or pain. The Society has long advocated that only positive reinforcement based training is used for dogs. Electric shock collars can have negative welfare implications, causing physical pain and long-term fear. We applaud the Welsh Government for introducing a ban on e-collars and we hope that Scotland will follow suit and consider more humane methods to address behavioural issues with our dogs.’

The Kennel Club and SSPCA are encouraging the public to write to their MSP to urge them to pledge their support for this motion.

Find out more about The Kennel Club’s Electric Shock Collar campaign.