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Exemption secured to electronic collar ban in England

The Government has confirmed it will introduce a ban on the use of electronic collars for training purposes in England but will not extend the ban to containment fence systems used to keep pets away from danger – an exemption campaigned for by the Countryside Alliance.

The announcement follows a Defra consultation earlier this year on proposals to introduce an outright ban on the use of the devices for cats and dogs in England. The consultation received over 7,000 responses, with around half of all respondents stating that they did not want containment fences to be banned. The Countryside Alliance called for this exemption and encouraged members and supporters to take part in the consultation which closed in April this year.

The change to the law will be introduced by regulations under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which will require approval from Parliament. No timescale has yet been announced but the Government are expected to act quickly to implement the change.

Countryside Alliance Political Relations Manager, James Somerville-Meikle, commented: "We are disappointed that the Government has decided to pursue a ban on electronic collars used for training purposes. Alternatives to a ban such as introducing a licensing system or improved guidance have not been properly considered which is disappointing as there is no doubt that electronic collars can bring real benefits in cases of last resort. The majority of respondents to the consultation (64%) did not think it should be an offence for a person to attach an electronic collar to a dog or a cat, which makes the decision even harder to justify.

"We are pleased, however, that the Government has stopped short of introducing an outright ban with an important exemption for containment fences. Thank you to all our supporters who answered our call to participate in the consultation; there was never any welfare evidence or public interest argument to be made for banning electronic collars used in containment fence systems and it is right that these devices have been excluded from the ban which the Government now intends to introduce.

"The Alliance continues to have concerns about the Government's approach to animal issues, which at times seems driven more by social media activism than by evidence, and we will continue to raise these concerns at the highest level."

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