Major rule change that all dog owners should know as ‘cruel and unnecessary’ pet accessory is banned
- Electric shock collars, often used in training, send a painful buzz to a dog’s neck
- The legislation will see the ban come into force from February 1 next year
Controversial electric shock collars are to be banned in England following a ten-year campaign.
The devices, often used to train dogs, send an electric shock to their neck and are controlled by a remote with a radius of up to two miles.
Announcing the ban, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said: ‘As well as being misused to inflict unnecessary harm and suffering, there’s also evidence e-collars can re-direct aggression or generate anxiety-based behaviour in pets – making underlying behavioural and health problems worse.’
Charity The Kennel Club has been fighting against the ‘cruel’ use of the devices for ten years and labelled the new legislation, which will come into force from February 1 next year, a ‘historic moment for animal welfare’.
Shock collars were banned in Wales in 2010 and in France as of January this year. They are yet to be banned in Scotland.
Electric shock collars are to be banned in England from February next year
In a statement the charity said: ‘With five per cent of dog owners reportedly using electric shock collars, a complete ban on their use across the UK should mean half a million dogs will be saved from being trained by these highly aversive devices.’
There is evidence to suggest that the use of electric shock collars can compromise a dog’s well-being and that they are no more effective in training than other positive reinforcement methods, according to the charity.
Mark Beazley, Chief Executive of The Kennel Club said: ‘The legislation banning electric shock collars in England, which comes into force next year, is a historic moment for animal welfare and will put an end to the misery and suffering of countless dogs who are still subject to these cruel and unnecessary devices.
‘There is simply no excuse for using these devices, which cause physical and psychological harm, especially given the vast array of positive training methods available.
‘This is the culmination of over a decade of campaigning for us and we applaud Defra for helping to safeguard the welfare of our nation’s much-loved dogs.
‘More action is urgently needed in Scotland, where regulations are needed to replace the ineffective guidance currently in place, and we will not rest until we see the complete ban on these devices that cause suffering and harm.’
The Dog’s Trust also welcomes the ban – but a spokeswoman told MailOnline the charity would have liked to see it go further.
‘The use of shock collars also requires the dog to associate the shock with their unwanted behaviour. Creating fear in this way risks numerous negative consequences for the dog and owner.’
The devices, often used to train dogs, send an electric shock to their neck
Dr Rachel Casey, PhD FRCVS, RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine and Director of Canine Behaviour & Research at Dogs Trust, said: ‘We welcome the announcement from Defra that hand-held electric shock collars are to be banned in England. It is both unnecessary and cruel to use these collars on dogs.
‘Research has shown that electric shock collars negatively impact dog welfare and instead of improving behaviour, risk causing further behaviour problems. Worse still, they can be a mechanism for abuse if used in anger.
‘I will never forget coming across a little terrier when out on a walk, with no owner in sight. He was crouched down, shaking and screaming repeatedly as his e-collar was activated again and again.
‘We ask Defra to look again at banning the sale of electric dog collars and banning other aversive training devices such as electric shock containment systems. There is no place or need for these cruel devices in modern dog training.’
The action follows a public consultation on a proposed ban for all e-collars.
However, the Government will not extend the ban to invisible fencing systems which can keep pets away from roads or other properties by emitting a beep loud to their ears. Animals often respond well to invisible fencing and quickly learn to stay within a boundary without receiving a static pulse.
Secretary of State Michael Gove said: ‘We are a nation of animal lovers and the use of punitive shock collars cause harm and suffering to our pets. This ban will improve the welfare of animals and I urge pet owners to instead use positive reward training methods.’