SNP politicians are calling on the Tory government at Westminster to use its reserved powers to ban the sale of electronic shock collars across the UK.
Leading animal welfare groups united this week to praise the SNP Scottish Government's decision to use its devolved powers to introduce a "prompt and effective" ban on the use of shock collars and other forms of harmful electronic training devices for dogs.
The British Veterinary Association described the Scottish Government's announcement as "a real win for animal welfare".
The move follows a campaign led by Ben Macpherson, the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, who was jointly calling for the Scottish Government to ban the use of the devices, and crucially for the UK Government to ban the sale of shock collars using powers retained at Westminster.
The campaign's focus is now firmly on Westminster, with the Tory UK government under growing pressure to use its reserved powers to ban the sale and distribution of electric shock collars and end their use for good.
Ben Macpherson and SNP MPs, Tommy Sheppard and Deidre Brock, have today launched a Westminster public petition calling for the UK Government to "ban the sale of shock collars and other harmful electronic training aids" for dogs. The petition is available to sign at all three of the politicians' constituency offices, and an online petition will follow shortly.
Commenting SNP MSP, Ben Macpherson, said:
"I'm delighted that the Scottish Government is introducing a prompt and effective ban on the use of electric shock collars and other electronic training devices that can cause pain or distress to dogs - these devices are capable of causing suffering, and fully banning their use in Scotland is absolutely the right thing to do.
"However, this positive action from the Scottish Government isn't the end of the matter – the power to ban the sale of shock collars lies at Westminster and now it's time for the UK government to step up and do the right thing. It's time for the Tories to introduce a UK ban on the sale and distribution of these cruel devices, and also to follow the examples set by Scotland and Wales and ban the use of shock collars in England.
"On the back of yesterday's good news from the Scottish Government, I will now continue to work with animal welfare organisations and SNP colleagues at Westminster to push the UK Government to play its part and ban the sale of shock collars across the UK."
Commenting SNP MP, Tommy Sheppard, said:
"I very much welcome the Scottish Government's ban on the barbaric use of electronic shock collars on dogs and congratulate my colleague Ben Macpherson MSP and fellow campaigners on their success. But responsibility for the sale of such devices lies with the Tories in Westminster so we now need to turn our attention to London. It's vital they follow the example set by Scotland and Wales and ensure there is an outright ban on the sale and use of such collars across the UK."
Commenting SNP MP, Deidre Brock, said:
"There's loads of evidence that positive reinforcement works better than punishment for training - dogs love their tucker and react to rewards. Zapping them with an electric shock is like something from medieval times, let's end the sale of these devices now. It's good to see the Scottish Government taking a lead on this (if you'll pardon the pun!) - hopefully the UK Government will do their bit too."
Photo: [from left to right] Deidre Brock MP, Ben Macpherson MSP and Tommy Sheppard MP launching Westminster petition, in Leith.
Commenting Harry Huyton, Director of OneKind, said:
"Electric shock collars cause pain, are unnecessary, and have already been banned in Wales. I welcome Ben Macpherson's efforts to get these cruel devices banned here in Scotland and across the UK, and urge anyone who cares about dog welfare to sign his petition. The vast majority of dog trainers agree that positive, reward-based techniques are the way forward, not the archaic administration of pain to force a dog to submit to the will of the owner."
Dee McIntosh, Director of Communications and External Affairs at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, said:
"Battersea is very pleased to hear that the Scottish Government has decided to ban electric shock collars. Battersea has long called for these brutal training devices to be prohibited, as it is never acceptable to apply electric shocks to an animal. We believe positive reinforcement techniques, such as reward-based training, are far more effective at changing a dog's behaviour without inflicting unnecessary pain. We are greatly encouraged by the Scottish Government's decision, which will mirror the ban already in place in Wales, and urge the UK Government to follow their example."