First on banning smoking in public places, first on minimum alcohol pricing, first on free-care for the disabled, first to have statutory targets for tackling poverty and homelessness, first to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, first on baby boxes and free sanitary products, first to propose giving refugees the right to vote and now first to ban the use of electric collars on dogs.
Electric collars have been used for some time and, in particular, for dogs with ‘behaviour problems.’ However, accepting the argument that they are cruel, regardless of any effect, the Scottish government plans to ban them altogether.
This seems to be another example of research-based policy formulation. Here’s what the British Veterinary Association has to say:
‘Electric pulse devices are sometimes used in dog training as a form of punishment to prevent a dog from repeating bad behaviour. However, although training a dog is important for their wellbeing, research shows that electric pulse collars are no more effective than positive reinforcement methods.
BVA and BSAVA consulted with experts and examined evidence which found the collars raise a number of welfare issues, such as the difficulty in accurately judging the level of electric pulse to apply to a dog without causing unnecessary suffering.’
Several other studies seem to be saying the same thing. See:
‘A new study has found that the use of shock collars (also known as electronic collars or e-collars) can cause symptoms of distress in dogs, and the effects only worsen as the level of shock is increased. The study, entitled “The Welfare Consequences and Efficacy of Training Pet Dogs with Remote Electronic Training Collars in Comparison to Reward-Based Training” was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Plos One and was conducted by researchers at the University of Lincoln in the UK.’
Speaking as life-long ‘dog-lover’, I didn’t need the research to know it was just wrong.
* the photograph above is from a site advising on purchase of the collars (!)