BVA presses Government to deliver on commitment to ban cruel shock collars without delay

The British Veterinary Association (BVA), which represents more than 19,000 vets and vet students across the UK, has joined up with leading animal welfare and veterinary organisations to urge the Government to deliver on its commitment to ban electronic shock collars in England, almost three months on since missing its original 1 February 2024 deadline for the ban coming into force.

The Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (England) Regulations, which has extensive backing from the public, had received approval in the House of Lords in June 2023, however the legislation, which will ban these cruel training devices. has not progressed. More than 51,000 members of the public wrote to their MPs last year in support of the ban.

In a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, today (17 May), the coalition has asked for an urgent meeting to discuss the issue and to ensure that the necessary parliamentary time is made available for the ban to be passed.

BVA, along with Dogs Trust, The Kennel Club, RSPCA, Battersea, Blue Cross and many other organisations, has long called for a ban on electronic shock collars given the overwhelming scientific evidence that shows the negative impact that these aversive training devices can have on a dog’s welfare. The joint letter points out that this includes research commissioned by Defra, which concluded that the routine use of electronic shock collars even in accordance with best practice as suggested by collar manufacturers presents a risk to a dog’s wellbeing.

British Veterinary Association President Dr. Anna Judson said:

“Research shows that using fear and punishment as a training tool not only takes its toll on an animal’s overall welfare, it is also less effective than positive training methods. 

“The electronic shock collar ban is an important piece of legislation with huge public support behind it, so it is crucial that it becomes law without any further delay.

“Alongside other members of the coalition, the British Veterinary Association is calling on the Secretary of State to ensure that the Government allows parliamentary time to pass these regulations and take an important step forward for dog training and animal welfare in the country.”

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