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Calls for outright ban on shock collars for pets in Scotland

UK News | Published:

Campaigners believe the devices are cruel and want a total ban on their use.

Dog with electric collar

The Scottish Government is facing calls to bring in an outright ban on electric shock collars for pets.

Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced last year she would take steps to effectively and “promptly ban” the use of the collars in Scotland and guidance was issued on their use.

However, the government later clarified that use of the devices, which campaigners argue is painful and cruel for animals, is not prohibited.

Conservative MSP Maurice Golden said: “Over 20,000 people signed my petition to ban these harmful devices which cause so much harm to dogs.

“That is why it is hugely disappointing that the Government have completely failed to deliver on their promise to ban these harmful devices.

“This is an issue that cannot be kicked into the long grass, the Government must act urgently and outline plans that will see electric shock collars for dogs banned once and for all.”

Mr Golden hosted a drop-in event at the Scottish Parliament last week for MSPs to pledge their support for an outright ban.

Maurice Golden MSP
Maurice Golden signs the pledge at the Scottish Parliament (DogsTrust/PA)

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The UK Government announced plans in August to ban electronic shock collars for pets and the devices are banned in Wales.

Rachel Casey, of the Dogs Trust, said: “We are disappointed that despite previously committing to effectively ban the use of electronic and other aversive training devices, a year later the Scottish Government has only issued guidance about their use.

“This means that Scotland’s pets are not protected from the negative impacts of using these cruel devices.”

She said changes could be made to a dog’s behaviour through positive reinforcement without the need to use the collars.

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Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, of Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, said: “We strongly believe that an outright ban on the use of shock collars is the only outcome that will ensure dogs are protected from the fear and misery these collars bring.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Guidance issued by the Scottish Government makes it clear that inappropriate use of electronic training aids may be – depending upon the circumstances of the case – an offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, if the user knew or ought to have known that the action would cause unnecessary suffering.

“We fully expect this guidance to be of real, practical benefit to dog owners in Scotland and those involved in the enforcement of the Act on the ground.

“The principle of introducing guidance as a deterrent, and the wording of the guidance itself, was developed in consultation with the Kennel Club and a number of animal welfare organisations.

“We have been clear that we will review the effectiveness of this guidance after 12 months, and then consider if improvements could be made. As such, criticism of the guidance at this stage would appear to be premature at best.”

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