Skip to main content

Dogs: Electric Shock Equipment

Volume 477: debated on Friday 13 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research evidence was reviewed by his Department on the use of electric shock training devices for dogs prior to commissioning further research. (209150)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make an assessment of the animal welfare consequences of the use of electric shock (a) collars, (b) mats and (c) leads in training dogs. (209515)

My Department is aware of a number of scientific studies on these devices, but considers that to date those studies published are not sufficiently robust. Further research into these types of collars is a priority. An Open Competition Call was published in DEFRA's annual research requirements document in August 2005 inviting bids for research on the effect of both electronic and non-electronic training aids on the welfare of dogs. A single proposal was received in response to the call but it did not satisfactorily meet the advertised requirement and it was rejected.

In July 2006, DEFRA circulated a revised call for research in the form of a limited tender call. The call invited proposals for studies to assess the effect of specific electronic pet training aids (excluding electric fences) on the welfare of dogs. The call encouraged an epidemiological approach, based on observation of collars already in use. One proposal was received in response to the call and a study commissioned which is due to complete in 2010.

DEFRA has also asked the Companion Animal Welfare Council, advisory body to Government on companion animal welfare matters, to undertake an independent study of available evidence on the use of these electronic training aids to help inform policy and complement the DEFRA funded study.

The study will not cover electric mats and leads. We are not aware that these devices are used to any significant extent. If they do cause a dog to suffer unnecessarily then it would be possible to bring a prosecution under the Animal welfare act 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when his Department’s research into electric shock collars will be completed; what the cost of the research is; and when he expects to decide on whether to ban electric shock collars. (210180)

The study to assess the effect of electronic training aids on the welfare of dogs commenced in 2007, and it is expected to be completed in 2010 at a cost of £469,000. Details of the research project are available on the DEFRA website. We will not be making any decision on whether to ban electronic training aids until we have considered the results of the completed research project.