BSAVA welcomes government ban on use of electric collars

29 August 2018

After Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s announcement that electric shock collars for dogs and cats are to be banned in England, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) is delighted to hear that this aversive training method will now become illegal.

The BSAVA has welcomed the banning of these training devices, which can deliver up to 6,000 volts of electricity or spray noxious chemicals to control animals’ behaviour, as use of these training aids has the potential to cause welfare problems.

Philip Lhermette, BSAVA’s President, said: “The BSAVA has supported a ban on electric shock collars for dogs and cats for a long time and the Association is pleased to see that their use will now become illegal.

“It is well established that positive reinforcement is more effective as a training method than punishment and electric shock collars may be used inadvertently or deliberately as an instrument of abuse, which can lead to future behavioural problems.”

The BSAVA has campaigned with organisations such as the British Veterinary Association (BVA) to ban the use of these devices over several years, with the latest announcement meaning England, Scotland and Wales have now banned the use of electric collars.

“We are glad to see that all the work we have done with BVA and others has achieved the ban on the use of these devices and we are sure that this will lead to an improvement in animal welfare,” Philip Lhermette added.

“Better animal welfare is the ultimate aim of everyone who is concerned for the wellbeing of dogs and cats and we remain committed to working with the BVA and other towards a UK-wide ban on the sale and import of electronic training devices.”

The BSAVA are currently reviewing position statements with the BVA and they will be updated in the near future, but please click here for our current position on aversive training methods.