Not usually known for its leading the way with European policies, the small country of Wales has become the first in Europe to place a ban on the use of electric shock dog collars, which up until now have been used to train dogs. The ban was passed yesterday by the Welsh Assembly, and came into force at midnight last night. Anyone caught using one of the collars on a cat or dog could face six months in prison, or a fine of £20,000.
The ban on the electric shock collars was supported by both the Kennel Club and the RSPCA.
The ban wasn’t supported however by the Electronic Collar Manufacturers’ Association – who warn that banning use of the collars could result in more dogs being abandoned as their owners fail to train them successfully. The collars are sometimes used in dog training; they give the dog a small shock, controlled by the owners, when the dog has misbehaved.
Elin Jones, Wales’ Rural Affairs Minister, commented on the ban of the dog collars:
It is important that owners are aware of the ban, and that they now take appropriate steps to comply with the law.
I’m pleased that as a government, we are taking a proactive approach to promoting the welfare of animals by banning the use of such electronic training devices in Wales.
According to the RSPCA, shock collars should under no circumstances be used in dog training. Rewarding dogs is a far more effective way of training dogs.
The Kennel Club offered its support of the ban by holding a display outside the Welsh Assembly building, in Cardiff Bay, yesterday. Caroline Kisko, the communications director of the Kennel Club, commented:
This is a historic day for animal welfare in Wales and we are absolutely delighted that so many AMs voted in favour of the regulations.
Today, Wales has proven that it is truly leading the way and we hope that the rest of the UK will follow by example to outlaw these cruel and unnecessary devices.
Duncan McNair, representing the Electronic Collar Manufacturers’ Association, commented that many dogs will die as a result of the ban:
It’s a bad idea because more dogs will die, more dogs will have to be re-homed and more owners will have to be distressed at having to give up their pets.
I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that people disobey the law, everybody will be making their own decision about what they do, but what I do think is that if a large number of people who use them stop using them, there will be an influx of dogs into dog shelters.
What do you think of the ban, and should it be extended to England?
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