Vets hail England ban on electric shock collar use

27 August 2018

Electric collars have been proven to cause pain and unnecessary suffering in pets, and are far less effective than positive training methods

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed Environment
Secretary Michael Gove's announcement banning the use of “cruel” electric shock
collars in dogs and cats in England, following a public consultation earlier
this year.

BVA has worked alongside campaigners to ban these aversive
training methods across the UK for several years and welcomed effective
bans on the devices in Wales in 2010 and in Scotland in January this year.

British Veterinary Association President John Fishwick said:

“We're delighted by the government's
decision to impose a ban on the use of electric shock collars in dogs
and cats after a long and sustained campaign by BVA and other organisations.

“Electronic training devices such as
electric collars have been proven to cause pain and unnecessary suffering, and we
know from leading veterinary behaviourists that using fear as a training
tool negatively impacts an animal's overall welfare and is far less
effective than positive training methods, such as encouragement and

“Today's decision is a big win for animal welfare in
England, and we would now like to see similar action taken in Northern Ireland,
as well as a UK-wide ban on the sale and import of electronic training

The Government has also announced that it will
not extend the ban to invisible fencing systems, which can keep pets away from
roads and potential traffic accidents. While BVA's current policy on aversive
training devices does not call for a ban, it is looking into latest evidence on
their use and effectiveness and, till then, asking for the use and sale of
these devices to be regulated.

BVA President John Fishwick added:

“As we review the latest evidence on the welfare
impact of pulse pet containment fences, we would like to see them covered by a
code of practice, as well as the regulation of the sale of these devices and
manufacturer's instructions, to ensure that the potential adverse effects of
use are highlighted to animal owners and consumers.

“Anyone in need of advice on dealing with pet
behaviour issues, such as potentially dangerous roaming in cats and dogs,
should always speak to their vet on how to do it positively, humanely and

Related links

Related BVA policy