Animal-lovers have just one week left to sign an urgent electric shock collar campaign asking Members of Parliament to put pressure on the UK Government to not abandon a pledge to ban the cruel devices.
In April, Defra announced that the Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (England) Regulations 2023 would come into force on 1 February 2024, finally consigning the use of electronic shock collars on cats and dogs in England to the history books.
But there are fresh fears the UK Government could row back on its commitment to outlawing the devices, amid lobbying from commercial interest groups who want use of such devices to continue.
Esme Wheeler, RSPCA dog welfare expert, said: “Shock collars can cause fear and pain in dogs and cats - and have been illegal in Wales for more than a decade, since being outlawed there in 2010.
“We have grave welfare concerns about these devices. We were delighted when the UK Government announced they would be banned from February in England next year - but we have been left concerned that lobbying from pro-shock collar groups will leave the pledge in tatters, as there’s been a worrying lack of progress in recent months.
“Put simply, these devices are cruel and cause pain and distress in animals and a u-turn on the ban would be detrimental to animal welfare. We urge animal-lovers to take part in our campaign and email their MP asking them to put pressure on the UK Government to keep their promise to England’s dogs and cats.”
RSPCA concerns about the future of a ban on shock collar follows the UK Government recently dropping its Kept Animals Bill, which had been a cornerstone of its animal welfare platform.
Esme added: “Banning shock collars seems a no-brainer for any administration which cares about the welfare of pets. So it was really positive when the UK Government brought forward legislation earlier this year to do this and initially all seemed well as it cleared the House of Lords without breaking a sweat.
“But there is growing concern that Ministers are getting cold feet amid weeks of agonising silence.
“Defra is being inundated with emails from lobbyists - many reportedly with a commercial interest in keeping shock collars and worryingly, there are rumours abound that Defra might be listening. This is why we need to take action now and we urge animal-lovers to join us in putting pressure on the UK Government.”
The RSPCA’s campaign action closes on Friday 8 September. Visit the RSPCA’s website to take action and email your local MP.