Stop Press: The government has announced that it will at last introduce a complete ban on shock collars in England from February 1st, 2024. About time too.
The Government has been too preoccupied with its own internal wranglings to prioritise the ambitious raft of animal welfare legislation into effect, having announced in 2022 that it would be put on hold.
This includes the proposed ban on shock collars, even though the Scottish government put guidance in place advising against their use in 2018. Whilst this is still too weak, it is better than the nothing that pertains to England and Wales.
Now a group of dog boarders have petitioned DEFRA to oppose the ban, claiming that it puts their livelihoods at risk. It is easy to react in an emotional way because there is no doubt that electrocuting animals in the name of training is unethical.
More importantly such training, it is ineffective and, in spite of protestations to the contrary, there is a great deal of good scientific research available to prove it. At best, punishment only stops the behaviour at the time that the behaviour is occurring and the dog does not learn an alternative behaviour – indeed cannot learn an alternative behaviour when under stress and suffering pain.
There is no doubt that more needs to be done to train dogs not to harass wildlife, livestock and domestic animals and it is imperative that the results of any training are as effective as possible as well as ethical.
DEFRA needs to throw this complaint out and more needs to be done to educate people in effective training.