The government has announced that electric shock collars, frequently used as a 'training tool' for pets, are to be banned. The ban in England follows Scotland, who banned the collars earlier this year, and Wales, where the use of such collars has been illegal since 2010. They are also banned in several other countries, including Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden.
The collars are believed to be used by as many as five per cent of dog owners as a means to punish bad behaviour. They can administer up to 6,000 volts of electricity, with some even using a spray of chemicals to cause pain/discomfort to an animal as a treating method.
Animal charities and welfare organisations such as the RSPCA and The Kennel Club are of course welcoming the change to policy, following long campaigns to see such a ban passed. The RSPCA is also lobbying to see electric fences banned, which are often used to keep animals contained in one area.
However, there have also been negative responses to the ban, including a dog trainer, who believes there's no additional evidence to support the need for a ban. Another, a lobbyist for pet collar manufacturers, argued that animal charities "exaggerated the impact of the shock delivered by a collar", saying that such collars are proven effective, and problems could instead be resolved by standardising products rather than blanket banning them.
But as a pet owner, it seems like a step in the right direction. There are plenty of effective ways to train your pet without having to resort to causing it physical pain in order to curb bad behaviour. [BBC]