Electric shock collars for cats and dogs will be banned in England, the government has announced.
The British government has announced that electric pet collars are soon to become illegal. In the lead up to the decision, various animal welfare organisations campaigned for the ban, arguing that electric collars are ‘painful’ and ‘cruel’.
The training devices can deliver up to 6,000 volts of electricity or spray noxious chemicals to control animals’ behaviour. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said this causes unacceptable “harm and suffering”. Wales and Scotland have already taken steps to prevent the use of electric collars.
On their website, PETA explains that the collars ‘rely on painful punishment and negative reinforcement, causing dogs to live in fear of being electrocuted for normal behaviours like crossing invisible lines, barking and jumping onto surfaces within their own homes’.
According to the charity, ‘dogs wearing shock collars can suffer from physical pain and injury […] and psychological stress, including severe anxiety and displaced aggression. The anxiety and confusion caused by repeated shocks can lead to changes in the heart and respiration rate or gastrointestinal disorders. Electronic collars can also malfunction, either administering nonstop shocks or delivering no shocks at all.’
Speaking on the government decision, Gove said: ‘This ban will improve the welfare of animals and I urge pet owners to instead use positive-reward training methods.’
Although the government has approved the ban on electric collars, they have not yet approved a similar ban on electric fences, which are being campaigned against by animal protection charities for similar reasons.