In response to what it deems a “disappointing lack of commitment” toward animal welfare, The Kennel Club is urging the UK Government to expedite the ban on electric shock collars.
Despite the Government’s assurance of a ban on these devices, there is no set date for the final legislative stage. The anticipated Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (England) Regulations 2023, scheduled for implementation on February 1, is now at risk of missing the deadline, raising concerns about potential abandonment.
This call for urgency follows a series of unfulfilled commitments by the Government to enhance dog welfare. The introduction of the Kept Animals Bill in June 2021, addressing various animal welfare concerns, was officially abandoned in May 2023 after substantial delays. The Kennel Club, advocating for a shock collar ban for over a decade, fears that the current pledge might suffer a similar fate.
Concerns Surrounding Electric Shock Collars
Electric shock collars are utilised in dog training to discourage undesirable behaviours through a shock to the dog’s neck. However, studies indicate adverse effects on dogs’ welfare, manifesting in both behavioural and physiological distress. Robust research suggests that positive reinforcement methods are more effective in behaviour modification, rendering the use of shock collars unnecessary.
Representatives from prominent animal welfare organisations, including The Kennel Club, Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Battersea, the British Veterinary Association, and Blue Cross, will gather with MPs at an event in Westminster on January 24. Together, they will call on the Government to fulfil its promise to ban these devices, emphasising the outdated and cruel nature of electric shock collars and the widespread public support for a ban.
Mark Beazley, Chief Executive at The Kennel Club, expressed concern over the Government’s recent actions, citing the mishandling of the ban on XL Bully dogs and the abandonment of the Kept Animals Bill. Beazley urged the Government to prioritise the ban on electric shock collars, highlighting the devices’ harmful physical and psychological impact on dogs.
Evidence Supporting a Ban
Extensive evidence, including research funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), indicates that shock collars inflict unnecessary harm on dogs without improving disobedience deterrents or behavioural outcomes. The National Police Chiefs’ Council emphasises that most livestock worrying incidents involve dogs that have escaped from homes, situations where hand-controlled e-collars would not have been effective.
The Kennel Club remains resolute in its commitment to preventing a U-turn by the Government on this crucial animal welfare issue. With the support of over 77% of the population, as indicated by their data, The Kennel Club is urging the Government to honour its commitment and promptly implement the ban on electric shock collars. For more details on The Kennel Club’s campaign, visit thekennelclub.org.uk/banshockcollars.