“Overdue” electric shock collar ban amongst new Government measures welcomed by The Kennel Club - Veterinary Practice
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“Overdue” electric shock collar ban amongst new Government measures welcomed by The Kennel Club

The newly announced Action Plan for Animal Welfare aims to ensure the UK is leading the way in animal welfare

The
UK’s biggest organisation dedicated to the health and welfare of dogs has on 12 May welcomed the Government’s newly announced Action Plan for Animal
Welfare
. The first of its kind, the 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
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. Research funded by the Department of Environment, Farming and Rural
Affairs
(DEFRA) demonstrated that electronic collars can have a detrimental
effect on the welfare of dogs by causing them unnecessary harm and suffering,
with 25 percent of dogs trained with shock collars showing signs of stress.

“We
fully support a total ban on both the use and sale of electric shock collars
and are pleased that the Government have committed to this in their proactive
action plan,” commented Dr Ed Hayes, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club.
“These devices cause unnecessary pain and suffering for dogs and research
has demonstrated that a reward-based approach is more effective than delivering
painful electric shocks when training dogs. Leading veterinary bodies both in
the UK and in 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, urging them to ban the use of electric
shock collars to train dogs. The Government previously committed to banning
these harmful devices; however, a legal challenge has considerably delayed
DEFRA from acting. A total ban on the use of these devices is well overdue and,
as such, we welcome the Government’s commitment this week to bring forward
legislation on this issue – pending the outcome of the legal challenge – to
protect the welfare of the nation’s pets.”

Via
its action plan, the Government also announced its intentions to crack down on
puppy smuggling and illegal imports. The importing of young puppies into the
UK, often illegally, raises animal welfare and exploitation concerns, including
transporting conditions, puppy farming, and illegal smuggling.

Dr
Hayes added: “Breeders have been unable to meet skyrocketing levels of demand
that we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, leaving importers and puppy farmers
rushing to fill the gap. We welcome the Government’s intentions to address this
issue and to crack down on the abhorrent smuggling of puppies into the UK.
Alongside this though, we also need the Government to recognise and support
high welfare, low volume dog breeders in supplying healthy, happy puppies to
families and new owners across the country. It’s essential that the Government
listens to all stakeholders and gets this right, in order to provide improved
protection for dogs in the UK and further afield.

“We
look forward to working with DEFRA and MPs to kick start this action plan and
be a part of improving standards for dogs and making a real difference for our
four-legged friends.”

Further information about The
Kennel Club’s campaigns
and lobbying activity can be found at
the website and details about DEFRA’s Action Plan for Animal
Welfare are available online as well.

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