12 November 2008

No action on shock collars

Animals will continue to suffer needlessly while the SNP dither over new legislation in animal welfare, according to Highlands and Islands MSP Peter Peacock.

The Labour MSP had asked the Scottish Government if it intended to ban the use of electric shock collars, used as a so called ‘training aid’ but Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said there was "insufficient evidence to support a ban".

Mr Peacock commented: "This issue was raised in the last session of Parliament when there was a considerable amount of cross party support to ban these cruel collars.

"Organisations such as the Kennel Club, all police forces in the UK and all branches of the military already have a voluntary ban in place.

"Any suggestion that electric dog collars are part of a training regime are ridiculous given the high level of obedience which the police dogs and others achieve.

"The collars are cruel and unnecessary.

"The Minister is dragging his feet in dealing with this issue.

"When the SNP came into power they said there would be legislation within two years.

"Now, the Minister is waiting until 2010 for a report from England meanwhile dogs in Scotland are suffering when it is in his remit to do something about it.

"There is a strong body of support within the Highlands and Islands and across Scotland in favour of a ban without further delay and the Minister needs to get on with it and take the necessary action.

"I will continue to lobby on this issue."

Parliamentary questions tabled

Peter Peacock : To ask the Scottish Executive when it plans to publish the results of its consultation on the use, sale, distribution and possession of electronic training aids, which closed on 30 November 2007.

Peter Peacock : To ask the Scottish Executive when it plans to make regulations under sections 26 and 27 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 to ban the use of electric shock collars.


Mr Richard Lochhead :

A consultation seeking views and evidence on the use of electronic training aids was issued last year and the responses showed that the arguments were finely balanced but inconclusive. There is insufficient evidence at this stage to support a ban. Defra have commissioned research by the Companion Animal Welfare Council and the Universities of Lincoln and Bristol, both due to report in 2010. Therefore, we shall defer a decision on whether to impose a ban until the results of this research are available as that will allow us to reach a decision informed on sound scientific evidence.


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