Page last updated at 18:21 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 19:21 UK

Pet shock device ban 'too hasty'

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The rest of the UK is still considering its stance on the collars.

Manufacturers have hit back at plans to ban the use of electric shock pet collars in Wales.

It would make Wales the first part of the UK to ban the collars, which give animals a jolt when they misbehave.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said she would bring forward legislation to make their use a criminal offence because of concerns pets are suffering.

But manufacturers said they were "puzzled and disappointed" by the decision.

The assembly government's consultation on the issue ended on 1 February.

Ms Jones said: "This has not been an easy subject to examine.

"There is genuinely a large degree of concern about how these devices are improperly used, in contrast to responses from people who have used them and found they have worked in stopping an animal from misbehaving.

"After giving due consideration to the arguments, I propose to introduce a ban on the use of electric shock collars in Wales."

Regulations

The ban will be enforced under powers in the Animal Welfare Act.

"We will examine the possibility of certain restricted uses under veterinary and professional supervision and for controlled boundary fences," added the minister.

The assembly government said detailed regulations will now been drawn up, including considering a ban on the sale and possession of the shock collars in Wales.

The rest of the UK is still considering its stance on the collars.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was waiting for the results of a scientific study due to be published in 2010 before it considers legislation for England.

The Scottish government said it had already consulted on a similar ban to Wales, and would make an announcement "in due course".

In Northern Ireland, the possibility of a ban on the shock collars is also being considered.

But the Electronic Collars Manufacturer's Associations (Ecma) called the ban proposal hasty, premature and unnecessary.

Duncan McNair, Ecma spokesman said it was based on a "misreading of science".

"The move denies the almost universal experience of owners of electronic training collars, who say that they bring enormous benefits to pet and owner and in many cases have saved animals lives," he said.

Cruelty

The RSPCA warmly welcomed the decision by the assembly government.

"We are delighted with the stance that the Welsh Assembly Government has taken in banning the use of these instruments of cruelty," said David Bowles, the charity's head of external affairs.

"This is the first major piece of legislation in Wales and England under the Animal Welfare Act and we fully support and congratulate the minister on her commitment to improving the standards of animal welfare in Wales."

The RSPCA said it continued to support positive speech based training for dogs, and alternative "aversion therapies" where necessary, such as citronella spay collars.

Applauding the decision, Liberal Democrat AM Kirsty Williams added: "I have felt the shock from a collar and it hurts - it has to hurt for the training method to work - pain and fear are not humane methods by which to train an animal."




SEE ALSO
Views on pets' electric devices
15 Nov 07 |  In Pictures
Electric shock collar ban plans
07 Sep 07 |  Scotland
Dog electric shock ban rejected
27 Apr 07 |  UK Politics

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