In a ‘historic moment for animal welfare’ The Royal Kennel Club has welcomed news that the Government has laid legislation which will completely ban the use of remote controlled electric shock collars in England, as of 1 February 2024, following a ten year campaign.
Electric shock collars deliver an electric shock to a dog’s neck via a remote control, up to a radius of two miles – meaning a dog not within sight of its owner could still be shocked – and for up to 11 seconds at a time. With five per cent of dog owners reportedly using electric shock collars, a complete ban on their use across the UK should mean half a million dogs will be saved from being trained by these highly aversive devices.
The announcement from Westminster comes thirteen years after these cruel and outdated devices were banned in Wales, under The Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (Wales) Regulations and they have also recently been banned in France, as of January 2023.
Following a cross-welfare organisation event in Westminster in November 2022, co-hosted by The Royal Kennel Club, the organisation also continues to ramp up its campaign to see regulations introduced in Scotland – last month hosting a drop-in session for MSPs with MSP Christine Graham and the Scottish SPCA – after the Scottish Government’s guidance, condemning the use of shock collars in 2018, has been shown to be ineffective.
There is wide-ranging evidence demonstrating the detrimental effect that these can have on the welfare of dogs. In 2019, a study carried out by the University of Lincoln showed that electric shock collars compromised dog’s well-being, even when used by ‘professional’ e-collar trainers and were no more effective in training than positive reinforcement methods.
Mark Beazley, Chief Executive of The Royal Kennel Club said: “The legislation banning electric shock collars in England, which comes into force next year, is a historic moment for animal welfare and will put an end to the misery and suffering of countless dogs who are still subject to these cruel and unnecessary devices. There is simply no excuse for using these devices, which cause physical and psychological harm, especially given the vast array of positive training methods available.
“This is the culmination of over a decade of campaigning for us and we applaud Defra for helping to safeguard the welfare of our nation’s much-loved dogs. More action is urgently needed in Scotland, where regulations are needed to replace the ineffective guidance currently in place, and we will not rest until we see the complete ban on these devices that cause suffering and harm.”
Further information about The Kennel Club’s campaign to ban electric shock collars can be found by visiting thekennelclub.org.uk/banshockcollars