The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is calling on the Government to fulfil its commitment to ban electronic shock collars in England, following a delay in the implementation of the legislation.

Nearly three months have passed since the original deadline of 1 February 2024 was missed. The BVA, representing over 19,000 vets and veterinary students in the UK, has collaborated with leading animal welfare organisations to press for immediate action on the ban.

This coalition includes Dogs Trust, The Kennel Club, RSPCA, Battersea, and Blue Cross, among others. They have jointly written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the delay and ensure parliamentary time is allocated to pass the ban.

Public and Legislative Support

The Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (England) Regulations received approval from the House of Lords in June 2023 and have substantial public backing. Over 51,000 members of the public wrote to their MPs last year in support of the ban on these aversive training devices. Despite this support, the legislation has yet to progress.

The coalition’s letter highlights the overwhelming scientific evidence indicating the negative impact of electronic shock collars on dog welfare. Research, including studies commissioned by Defra, has shown that even the best practice use of these devices poses a risk to dogs’ wellbeing. The BVA and its partners argue that fear and punishment-based training methods are not only harmful but also less effective than positive reinforcement techniques.

Call to Action

BVA President Dr. Anna Judson emphasised the importance of the legislation, saying, “Research shows that using fear and punishment as a training tool not only takes its toll on an animal’s overall welfare, it is also less effective than positive training methods. The electronic shock collar ban is an important piece of legislation with huge public support behind it, so it is crucial that it becomes law without any further delay.”

The BVA and its partners are urging the Secretary of State to prioritise the passage of this legislation, marking a significant step forward in dog training and animal welfare in the country.