Electric Shock Collars

Thank you for taking the time to write to me about electric collars. As a keen animal lover and a patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, I take great interest in animal welfare causes. I am proud to build on the work that Sir David Amess did for animal welfare, and I take special interest in causes such as these.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs conducted research with veterinarians, trainers, and other expert groups into the use of electronic dog collars and similar devices. This included testimonies from pet owners and animal welfare organisations, as well as manufacturers of the products. The Government also carried out a consultation, receiving an impressive 7,000 responses. Significant concerns about the misuse of electric collars were found, but there was a general support for invisible fencing systems. As well as being misused to inflict unnecessary harm, there is also concern that e-collars can redirect aggression or generate anxiety-based behaviour in pets, making underlying behavioural and health problems worse.

A major finding from that research was that many of these collars were being used improperly and not to the manufacturers’ instructions, possibly causing harm to the dog. Following this research, I am pleased that the Government decided to ban training collars that can deliver an electric shock to a cat or dog by a hand-held remote-controlled device. These new regulations have been in force since the beginning of February. The ban did not include restrictions on invisible fencing systems, or collars that use alternative stimuli such as noise or water sprays. This strikes a fair balance to ensure that dogs are not being harmed by misuse of shock collars, but also that alternatives are still available.

Thank you again for taking the time to write to me, I am always happy to hear that constituents share my concern for animal welfare causes.