Sir Gavin Williamson met with representatives from The Kennel Club, Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the British Veterinary Association and Blue Cross at an event in Westminster to urge the Government to act immediately on banning electric shock collars.
Sir Gavin, who has frequently advocated for animal rights within parliament, was keen to discuss with the representatives from various animal rights organisations, the Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) Regulations that are due to come into force February 1st of this year. Sir Gavin shared the concerns of the groups that the legislation would be delayed, and joined those calling for the legislation to be delivered as soon as possible.
Sir Gavin has previously advocated for the prohibition of electric shock collars, which are used to train dogs by punishing unwanted behaviours through the application of a shock to the dog’s neck. However, studies have shown that these devices have a serious impact on the welfare of dogs, including behavioural and psychological signs of distress.
Sir Gavin said: “I’m supporting the ban on electric shock collars, as I don’t believe they align with the high standards of animal welfare that we pride ourselves on in this country. These devices are unnecessarily cruel, and there are far kinder ways to educate our dogs to demonstrate good behaviours, such as positive reinforcement. I’d like to see this legislation enforced as soon as possible, and if there is a delay beyond the 1st February I shall be seeking further action.”
Mark Beazley, Chief Executive at The Kennel Club, said: “Electric shock collars are outdated, cruel devices, which cause physical and psychological harm, and our data shows that a ban is supported by more than three-quarters of the population (77 percent). We are determined to prevent this disappearing from the political agenda, which would have a devastating impact on dog welfare, and we urge them to keep their promise and ban these devices as a priority.”