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The Kennel Club Urges Action on Use of Electric Shock Collars

Electric shock collars can have a detrimental effect on dogs

The Kennel Club has written to Zac Goldsmith, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Minister, to urge swift action to implement a ban on the use of electric shock collars in England, following a Court of Appeal judgment last week which dismissed the appeal of the Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association and Petsafe Ltd.

The outcome of the legal challenge, which had previously delayed DEFRA from bringing about any legislative action, saw the appeal from the Electric Collar Manufacturers Association and Petsafe Ltd thrown out, as the Government presented evidence to demonstrate that electric shock collars can have a detrimental effect on the welfare of dogs. This ruling was a crowning victory in the case against electric shock collars last week after the Government also announced a new Action Plan for Animal Welfare. This flagship plan aims to ensure the UK is leading the way in animal welfare and includes a ban on the use of electric shock collars, a move which has been long campaigned for by The Kennel Club. The Government’s intentions in this direction were also outlined in the Queen’s Speech.

“The Court of Appeal judgment should be the final step on this hard-fought path to ban the use of electric shock collars in England and we have written to the Minister to urge that the strong words and commitments made are swiftly converted into action,” commented Dr Ed Hayes, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club. “We are delighted that the Government has committed to banning these unnecessary and cruel devices in their action plan; research demonstrates that a reward-based approach is more effective than delivering painful electric shocks when training dogs and leading veterinary bodies in the UK and Europe are aligned in their opposition against shock collars.

“We have been extensively lobbying the UK Government and the devolved administrations for years on this issue. The Government previously committed to banning these harmful devices however the legal challenge, which has now finally been brought to a close, had considerably delayed DEFRA from acting. There is now no room to lose the forward momentum in bringing about the ban.”

Research funded by DEFRA demonstrated that electronic collars can have a detrimental effect on the welfare of dogs by causing them unnecessary harm and suffering, with 25 per cent of dogs trained with shock collars showing signs of stress.

The use and sale of electric shock collars is currently not prohibited in England, with Wales being the only nation with regulations in place which prevent their use. In Scotland, there is guidance against the use of shock collars, but The Kennel Club is lobbying Holyrood to explicitly ban the devices via legislation.