Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Tim Bonner writes:

Electronic collars for dogs and cats might not seem like an issue to die in a ditch about, but the Government’s announcement that it is to pursue a ban on such collars and its subsequent consultation are part of a worrying trend. It is an issue picked by the Government from the long list of prohibitions sought by animal welfare and animal rights groups presumably on the basis that it would receive their plaudits whilst no-one who was worth worrying about would oppose it.

Indeed, we do not believe that electronic collars should be used for routine training of dogs. There may, however, be occasions where used properly and as a last resort these devices can prevent serious problems, such as sheep worrying, which could otherwise necessitate the destruction of a dog.

The Government’s proposed ban does not include any exemption for such use, nor does it just cover training collars. Boundary fence systems which rely on electronic collars are used by thousands of people to contain dogs and cats to keep them safe. These systems would also be banned under the Government’s plans setting a precedent which would have much wider consequences. Electronic collars and boundary fence systems are used for cattle and ponies including in ‘conservation grazing’ projects. It cannot be argued that electronic collars used in boundary fence systems are ‘cruel’ when used for cats and dogs, but not when used for cattle or ponies. Nor is it logical to argue that electric shocks from traditional electric fencing are somehow less ‘cruel’ than those from electronic collars.

So, for the sake of a few headlines and tweets, the Government is proposing a broad prohibition which far from addressing a clear and major level of animal suffering might actually see more cats and dogs being euthanased and placed in danger. Meanwhile it will have set a precedent which will undoubtedly be exploited by obsessive campaigners. The Government would be well advised to give more thought to animal welfare issues and to pursue fewer headlines.

The Countryside Alliance is urging people who have experience of using electronic collars to have their say. The consultation document can be found here and information about how to respond can be found on our website here.

No animals will be harmed at our clay shoots at Raby Castle and in the Northwest, but there will be a lot of fun to be had in support of the Campaign for Shooting. Please support them if you can whilst keeping your eye in for next season. Teams are limited, find all the details and apply online here.

Tim Bonner
Chief Executive
Follow me at @CA_TimB