AS Wales celebrates the fifth anniversary of a landmark ban on electronic shock collars, a powerful coalition of organisations has urged the Welsh Government to retain the ban.
RSPCA Cymru, Blue Cross, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and the Kennel Club have come together to urge the Welsh Government to retain the legislation amid calls to water down the law. A letter has been sent to the Welsh Government and all Assembly Members to highlight the importance of the ban.
In 2010 Wales became the first, and remains the only, UK nation to introduce a ban on the use of such devices for use on dogs and cats.
Electric shock collars are used to train or control dogs and cats and are based on applying pain or the fear of to stop an unwanted behaviour. Scientific studies have shown that such techniques can compromise welfare and may make behaviour problems worse.
Such techniques are both unacceptable and unnecessary as reward-based training, where desirable behaviour is rewarded using praise, toys and treats achieves long term change in behaviour and doesn’t subject the animal to pain or distress.
RSPCA Cymru’s head of external affairs Claire Lawson said: “The prohibition on the use of electronic collars on dogs and cats in Wales was a pivotal moment for animal welfare; and one which delivered a clear statement of intent concerning the treatment of companion animals in this country.
“By implementing a ban on the use of electronic collar for dogs and cats, with cross-party support, Wales delivered a powerful message in relation to animal welfare, ensuring legislation reflects important social norms and values.
“Unfortunately, we are growing increasingly concerned regarding a campaign seeking to water down existing legislation.
“It is our view, based on existing evidence, that any change to the law would not be in the interests of the welfare of Wales’ dogs and cats and unpopular with the general public. We oppose any attempt to weaken the ban on the use of electronic collars on dogs and cats in Wales.
“As we mark the fifth year of the legislation – we urge for the full ban to be kept in place to best protect our dogs and cats.”
Steve Goody, Blue Cross Deputy Chief Executive, said: “There is no reason that could ever excuse the use of shock collars. Wales was the first UK nation to ban them and we’d urge decision-makers to uphold their landmark decision to keep dogs and cats safe from these unacceptable and unnecessary devices.”
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “The Welsh Assembly’s landmark decision to ban the sale and use of electronic training devices within its jurisdiction was welcomed wholeheartedly by the Kennel Club and the other animal welfare organisations. Research conducted prior to, and since the ban has concluded that the welfare of dogs is compromised by the use of such equipment. With an array of positive training devices on the market it is our view that electronic devices are completely unnecessary. We hope that any kind of review of a measure put in place to protect the welfare of dogs concludes that the current regulations should remain in place.”
Dee McIntosh, Battersea Communications Director, said: “There is simply no need for these cruel devices, and it is so important for the welfare of dogs that Wales continues with its forward-thinking approach in banning their use. At Battersea, we use positive reinforcement to train our dogs, and we see every day that this approach works. Shock collars inflict pain unnecessarily, and we urge the Welsh Government to keep this ban in place.”
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