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UK Government facing calls to ban shock collars for dogs

Animal charities want Westminster to outlaw the ‘cruel’ devices after bans in Scotland and Wales.

Pressure is mounting on the UK Government to follow Scotland in banning the use of electric shock collars for dogs.

The Scottish Government announced on Wednesday a ban on the devices will be introduced through guidance issued under existing Holyrood legislation.

Now, animal charities and Scottish politicians are calling for Westminster to outlaw the collars, which are also banned in Wales.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Now is the time for the government in Westminster to step up and show their commitment to dog welfare.

“Both Wales and Scotland are now committed to a total ban on the use of electric shock collars and it would be an extremely negative message to send about the importance of dog welfare if Westminster did not follow suit.”

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home also wants a UK-wide ban.

Dee McIntosh, the home’s communications director, said: “Battersea has long called for these cruel training devices to be prohibited, as it is never acceptable to apply electric shocks to an animal.

“We believe positive reinforcement techniques, such as reward-based training, are far more effective at changing a dog’s behaviour without inflicting unnecessary pain.

“We are greatly encouraged by the Scottish Government’s decision and urge the UK Government to follow their example.”

Scottish Labour, the SNP and Liberal Democrats have called for a legislative ban on the devices, which is a reserved matter.

Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur praised the animal charities in campaigning and said: “The next step is for the UK Government to legislate to ban the import, sale and use of these devices across the UK. All eyes will now be on how UK Ministers respond.”

Announcing the ban, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said causing pain to animals by “inappropriate training methods is clearly completely unacceptable”.

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) added: “Last year we published new welfare codes for dogs, advising owners on how to best meet the needs of their pets.

“This clearly stated that they should be trained using reward based techniques including using toys, food and praise.

“These codes are just one part the government’s drive to improve animal welfare from increasing maximum prison sentences to up to five years to cracking down on unscrupulous puppy breeding.”

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