Animal welfare groups condemn the SNP’s u-turn on electric shock collars

Scottish Conservative MSP Michelle Ballantyne has hit out at the SNP Government after they have u-turned on their decision to ban electric shock collars.


This comes as several dog welfare organisations have published a statement also slamming the SNP Government’s handling of the issue.


The SNP committed to a ban on electric shock collars in January this year after a 20,000-signature petition, started by a Scottish Conservative MSP, was handed to the Scottish Government.


The failure to follow through on the promise to institute a ban was confirmed by the SNP’s Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon in response to a parliamentary question earlier this month.


Asked whether shock collars were permitted to be used, Ms Gougeon responded that “The use of electronic training aids is not prohibited.” The Minister further muddied the waters by saying that using a shock collar to cause ‘unnecessary suffering’ may be an offence “depending on the circumstances” – the determining factor being whether the user knew they would cause unnecessary suffering.


In addition, the statement announcing the ban has now been removed from the Scottish Government website.


Several animal welfare organisations, including the Scottish Kennel Club, the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and the Dogs Trust, have now criticised the SNP Government stating that it “has not delivered on its promise of introducing an effective and prompt ban on aversive training devices in Scotland.”


This week at First Minister’s Questions, Nicola Sturgeon was asked whether the SNP would reconsider their position. Ms Sturgeon accepted that current measures are not strong enough.


Michelle Ballantyne, MSP for South Scotland, has called on the Scottish Government to listen to animal welfare organisations and ban electric shock collars.


Michelle Ballantyne MSP commented:


“Having owned dogs for most of my life, some of whom have come from rescue centres, I am firmly of the belief that there is no such thing bad dogs; only bad owners.


“It’s key that we have humane training methods and, frankly, the use of shock collars is not one of them.


“I believe Christine Grahame was right to raise this at First Minister’s Questions. It is saddening that her own party have not delivered on what they promised.


“It is time for the Scottish Government to explain exactly their position as they are flip flopping on this issue while dogs suffer from these harmful devices.”