In an effort to improve the welfare of animals, “cruel” electric shock collars are set to be banned in England, the government confirmed Sunday.
They go by many names: e-collar, shock collar, electronic collar, vibration collar, static collar, even “collar mounted electronic training aid.” Now, the collars (which have already been banned in Wales since 2010 and earlier this year in Scotland) are set to be banned in England.
Based on the idea of operant conditioning, shock collars allow a dog’s handler, owner or trainer to remotely (or automatically, in the case of bark activated or perimeter activated collars) give a “correction” when the dog doesn’t behave in the way that is expected of them.
A recent study, conducted by animal behavior specialists at the University of Lincoln, UK, revealed that training dogs with the use of an e-collar, or shock collar, is a risk to the dogs’ behavioral well-being, especially when compared to reward-based training methods.
While announcing the ban, environment secretary Michael Gove said “We are a nation of animal lovers. Organizations and MPs have campaigned against the use of shock collars passionately and we are listening to their concerns. We are now proposing to ban the use of electric shock collars to improve the welfare of animals.”
Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club, which runs the famed Crufts Dog Show, told The Guardian, “training a dog with an electric shock collar causes physical and psychological harm and is never acceptable, especially given the vast array of positive training methods available. We are delighted that the government has listened to the Kennel Club’s long standing campaign to ban electric shock collars and hope that a ban on their use is imposed swiftly.
“Shock collars are often marketed as a harmless quick-fix solution. The truth is that far from providing a solution, they can easily cause more problems than they seek to fix.”
What’s your opinion? Would you support a similar ban in your own country or state?
Should e-collars be outlawed entirely? What about electronic/invisible fencing?
Currently, anyone can walk into a store or go online, purchase an e-collar, strap it to their dog without ever reading an instruction or undergoing any training, and begin using it on their dog.
Should e-collars be available to the general public, or should they only be purchased an operated by someone that has been certified and understands precisely how/when to administer the “shock?”
Weigh in with a comment below!