Wales Leads Way with Ban on Shock Collars for Pets; Charities Urge Rest of UK to Follow Suit
Byline: David Williamson
THE use of electric shock collars is now banned in Wales following a landmark decision by Assembly members last night.
Animal charities applauded the ban and called on the other parts of the United Kingdom to follow Wales' example.
After the passing of the first ban of its kind in the UK, people who attach a shock collar to a pet could face a six-month prison sentence or a fine of up to pounds 20,000.
Gethin Russell-Jones of RSPCA Wales called on the rest of the country to also outlaw the controversial collars.
Describing the pain suffered by dogs, he said: "It's not dissimilar to touching a live plug. It's that kind of shock.
"Scientific research has gone into this and shown dogs do suffer a fair level of pain with these things."
Some collars are designed to stop dogs barking by sending a "stimulation". Others are used to stop dogs and cat roaming by responding when a pet leaves an area.
Further models allow owners to trigger a shock at a time of their choosing. Retailers claim the sensation is similar to a burst of static "received from a car door in the summer" and that the collars can be useful in breaking bad habits.
The new law has been pushed forward by Plaid Cymru Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones.
After the unanimous decision yesterday, Mrs Jones said: "I'm very pleased that AMs have backed the Assembly Government's proposal to ban the use of electronic shock collars in Wales. It is important that owners are aware of the ban, and that they now take appropriate steps to comply with the law.
"The Assembly Government takes animal welfare very seriously, and I'm pleased that as a government, we are taking a proactive approach to promoting the welfare of animals by banning the use of such electronic training devices in Wales."
Mr Russell-Jones said: "We campaigned on this issue for a many years and we are really delighted. It's just a great day for devolution."
He added: "We have been really impressed by the way the Welsh Assembly Government on so many animal welfare issues is stealing a march on its neighbours and this is one more example. …