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Victory: total ban for shock collars

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Cruel devices to be banned in Scotland

Animal rights campaigners have scored a major victory with the announcement shock collars are to be banned.

It comes after ministers saying in November they would continue to allow the use of the training devices for dogs - despite animal welfare charities warning that the collars can cause suffering.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has now announced that the government will implement a total ban.

Electric collars are used to train animals with behavioural problems - but campaigners argue that they are cruel, and have questioned their effectiveness as training aids.

MSPs including Scottish Conservative Maurice Golden and the SNP's Ben Macpherson, as well as animal charities including OneKind, the Kennel Club, the Scottish SPCA and the Dogs Trust, all backed the ban.

OneKind director Harry Huyton applauded the move: “Electric shock collars are cruel, unnecessary and ineffective. I’m delighted that the Scottish Government has today taken a stand against cruelty and taken decisive action against their use.”

Cunningham said she had made the decision after listening to the concerns that had been raised - particularly over the ready availability on the internet of cheap devices which can be bought by anyone and used to deliver painful electric shocks.

She added: "I have decided to take steps to effectively and promptly ban their use in Scotland.

"Causing pain to dogs by inappropriate training methods is clearly completely unacceptable and I want there to be no doubt that painful or unpleasant training for dogs will not be tolerated."

The collars are already banned in Wales, but remain in use in England.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary called on Westminster to follow Scotland’s example.

“It is a huge relief to know that the minister has taken on board the advice of leading academics, vets, behaviourists and welfare organisations and will ban the use of shock collars in Scotland,” she said.

“This sends the clearest possible message to dog owners that, far from being a harmless quick fix training solution, shock collars cause long term physical and psychological harm to dogs and that training them in this manner is unacceptable.”

“It is critical now that Westminster government does the right thing for dog welfare and follows Scotland’s ban with a ban of its own on the sale and use of electric shock collars.”