The Kennel Club is delighted that, following a meeting with Rt Hon Michael Gove and Ross Thomson MP just last week, it is understood that a ban on both the sale and use of shock collars is to be announced across the UK shortly, following a consultation period on the terms of such a ban, including a total import ban and a possible amnesty.
The Kennel Club has campaigned for many years that shock collars are an outdated, unnecessary and cruel way of training a dog, with extensive Defra funded research proving they are ineffective training devices which can cause more problems than they seek to correct. Wales introduced a ban on the use of shock collars in 2010, and Scotland announced its intention to do so just a few weeks ago. However, neither were able to ban the sale of these devices as only Westminster has the power to do so.
Electric shock collars are fitted around a dog’s neck and deliver an electric shock via a remote control or automatic trigger. They train dogs out of fear of further punishment by administering shocks to the dog when they do not perform what is asked of them. There are various models (approximately 170) readily available, ranging from £10 to £200 plus. The cheaper collars will normally have one setting, whilst the more expensive collars have a range of shock settings, from 1-100.
Research published by Defra concluded that the use of electric shock collars as a training method has a long term negative welfare impact on dogs. Furthermore, an independent survey commissioned by the Kennel Club in 2014 found that 73 per cent of the British public are against the use of electric shock collars and 74 per cent would support the Government in introducing a ban on their use. The Kennel Club strongly believe that every dog should be trained using humane, reward-based methods. These are proven to be highly successful in modifying behaviour including aggression, without subjecting dogs to cruelty.
The Kennel Club reinvigorated its #BanShockCollars campaign in Scotland at the end of 2017 following extensive Scottish consultations, in which it called for a complete ban on the use of shock collars amongst Scottish dog owners, and to attempt to put an end to the ever growing pool of ‘electric shock collar’ training days being organised by Scottish dog trainers.
As part of the campaign, the Kennel Club organised a roundtable meeting hosted by Maurice Golden MSP, including leading welfare, training and veterinary organisations. The meeting prompted other supportive MSPs, including Ben Macpherson, Colin Smyth, Christine Graeme, and Mark Ruskell to step up calls for a complete ban on the use of shock collars in Scotland and as a result of their cross party campaigning, this was announced on January 24th.
The Kennel Club looks forward to welcoming MPs from all parties early next month to a shock collar drop-in session where they can show their support for a ban. The Kennel Club will be joined at the session by a cross-party group of MPs, and dog focused welfare organisations including Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Dogs Trust, Edinburgh Dogs & Cats Home, and the Scottish Kennel Club as well as the BVA, renowned behaviourist Carolyn Menteith and leading researcher into electric shock collars, Dr Jonathan Cooper.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “Electric shock collars are banned in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, and Germany and in some territories of Australia, including New South Wales and Southern Australia – as well as of course Wales, and soon Scotland. It really is time that England follows suit and we are delighted that at last, it is proposed that they do so.
“Given the current debate around animal sentience, now is the right time to recognise that dogs are sentient beings, with a capacity to feel physical and psychological distress. Devices that cause this, in the name of dog training, when so many positive training methods and devices are available are simply unnecessary. We applaud Defra as we understand they are planning to ban shock collars after a consultation on the terms, and for taking such a strong stance on the importance of welfare in dog training.”