There has been much debate over the Government’s decision to ban the use of e-collars over recent weeks. I have heard from constituents both strongly in favour and against the decision and wish to clarify the Government’s position.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has considered the evidence regarding the use of electronic aids to control dogs. While I note concerns about the ban, I am aware that research commissioned by Defra showed that many e-collar users were not using them properly or in compliance with the manufacturers’ instructions.
As well as being misused to inflict unnecessary harm, there is also concern that e-collars can redirect aggression or generate anxiety-based behaviour in pets, making underlying behavioural and health problems worse. In addition, the Government’s consultation on this received more than 7,000 responses.
Following this research, as well as engagement with trainers, behaviourists, e-collar manufacturers, the animal welfare sector, veterinary and dog keeping organisations, the Government will ban training collars in England that can deliver an electric shock to a cat or dog by a hand-held remote-controlled device.
I understand that this ban will not extend to collars which use alternative stimuli, such as noise, spray or vibration. Invisible fencing systems which help animals quickly learn to stay within a boundary and have welfare benefits, such as keeping pets away from roads, will also still be permitted. These new regulations will come into force on 1 February 2024.