Wednesday, 20 October 2021
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Is it right to ban electric shock collars for dogs and cats?

Electric shock collars for dogs and cats are to be banned – but while many animal lovers are celebrating, advocates of these ‘remote trainers’ are warning the move will ‘criminalise’ hundreds of thousands of pet owners.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced the ban this week. He 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.”

Used as training devices, the remote controlled collars can trigger an electric pulse of varying strength, or spray noxious chemicals at the animal. The devices cause dogs to yelp, squeal, crouch and exhibit physiological signs of distress, the Dogs Trust has said.

The charity also warns that collars, which can continually shock a dog for 11 seconds, can worsen the animal’s behaviour.

A dog wearing a shock collar
A dog wearing a shock collar
(Image: Internet Unknown)

Dr Rachel Casey, director of canine behaviour and research for the Dog’s Trust, said: “Scientific research has demonstrated that electronic devices which deliver an aversive stimulus have a negative impact on dog welfare, so this ban will have a major positive impact for dogs in the UK.”

Use of the collars has been banned in Wales, and earlier this year Scotland began moves towards prohibiting dog owners using them. But it is only the UK Government which can ban their sale across the country.

Dog trainer Liz Gill, aged 40, of Stoke – who runs Calmer Canine – said: “I think it is fantastic. You don’t need to put your dog through unnecessary pain – these animals are supposed to be our best friends.

“When I do consultations I tell people to throw these collars away. I see a lot of them, I even see prong collars, which are supposed to stop a dog from pulling by causing pain. But to use shock collars, or anything which causes pain is just horrible.”

Liz says she teaches dog owners to communicate with their pet through body language and gestures that animals also use and understand. She says it is a far more efficient method than using pain or fear.

Cassie Fletcher, of Cellarhead-based Animal Lifeline, said: “To me, they are a hideous thing which should never have been introduced in the first place. Anything like that constitutes cruelty. Why anyone would think up such a thing is beyond me.”

But Mr Gove was accused of making a U-turn after letters from his department suggested there was insufficient evidence for banning electric shock collars, weeks before plans to ban their use were first announced.

A letter sent from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in February, seen by the Press Association, suggested that there was insufficient evidence for supporting a ban.

The document, sent to the Royal Veterinary College, noted scientific research that it had commissioned, ‘was not strong enough to support a ban’ on ‘electronic training aids for dogs’.

Dog trainer and campaigner Jamie Penrith – whose Take The Lead Training is a premier supplier of ECT Educator range of e-collars – said the Government had ‘insufficient evidence’ to suggest the devices were harming pets.

Ian Gregory, a lobbyist for pet collars, said: “The Secretary of State should desist from feeding the nation’s pets to the wolves of Twitter.

“The anecdotal problems reported with pet collars can be resolved by product standards rather than by banning a proven technology.

“The hundreds of thousands of dog owners using remote trainer do not deserve to be criminalised.”

Source: https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/local-news/right-ban-electric-shock-collars-1953333

The Bark Box

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