The Government has announced that remote controlled electric shock collars for pets will be banned in England, following a consultation which attracted over 7000 responses.

Whilst the decision has been welcomed by the BVA and leading animal charities, it has not been entirely free of controversy. According to various reports, the Press Association has seen a letter from Defra to the Royal Veterinary College in February this year, which said the scientific studies it had commissioned were 'not strong enough to support a ban'.

Talking to the BBC, Ian Gregory, a lobbyist for pet collar manufacturers said that charities had also exaggerated the shock delivered by the collars, which at typically one millijoule is 1000 times less than cattle fencing. He argued that: "The anecdotal problems reported with pet collars can be resolved by product standards rather than by banning a proven technology".

The government has stopped short of banning invisible fencing systems which can keep pets away from roads, saying that the devices are particularly useful for cat owners and animals often respond well to invisible fencing and quickly learn to stay within a boundary without receiving a static pulse.

BVA President John Fishwick said: "As we review the latest evidence on the welfare impact of pulse pet containment fences, we would like to see them covered by a code of practice, as well as the regulation of the sale of these devices and manufacturer’s instructions, to ensure that the potential adverse effects of use are highlighted to animal owners and consumers."

Photo: Shutterstock

PS: Whilst you're here, take a moment to see our latest job opportunities for vets.