Thank you to all those who contacted me about electronic shock collars, also known as e-collars, for dogs and cats. I know people on both sides feel very strongly about this issue.

I support a ban on the use of electronic shock collars. In my view, no animal should be made to suffer unnecessary pain and degradation, and we must drive up standards and practice in line with the most recent advances and understanding.

Many animal welfare organisations, including the Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club alongside the RSPCA, oppose the use of e-collars and instead promote positive training methods.

In 2014, the Government funded research on the use of e-collars on dogs. The research concluded e-collars can have long-term detrimental effects on the welfare of dogs, and in 2018 the Government announced its intention to ban hand-held remote-controlled electronic collars, encouraging the use of positive reward training methods. In 2018, following a public consultation seeking views on its plans in England, the Government announced its intention to amend the Animal Welfare Act to implement such a ban.

The Government announced draft regulations on 27 April 2023 to ban the use of these devices, introducing fines for those in breach of these regulations. I welcome exemptions for those with protected characteristics to help those who have a legitimate need for collars that emit sound, vibration or other non-shock signals, whether for the benefit of the owner or the animal, such as for service dogs.

This legislation would have had to be approved by Parliament before it came into force. in my view, this legislation is necessary.

Although passed by the House of Lords in June 2023, the motion to approve the legislation lapsed at the end of the last Parliamentary session, before it got to be debated by the House of Commons. In January 2024, the Government said that it continues to support a ban. There is no debate scheduled for any further scrutiny.

Labrador in a sunlit field wearing a non-electric shock collar
Labrador in a sunlit field wearing a non-electric shock collar
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