SPCA signs petition for banning the use of electric shock collars on dogs in New Zealand
The petition calls for a ban on shock collars for dogs, which are used as an adverse training tool.
Shock collars are sometimes recommended to address unwanted behaviours, such as excessive barking or poor recall. However, research has demonstrated that reward based training is just as effective as use of a shock collar, even when used by professional “e-collar” trainers.
Electric shock collars deliver an electric current, through contact points on the dog’s neck, which can cause pain and distress to the dog. Electric collars can be voice (e.g. bark) activated, location activated, or human operated using handheld devices. The electric shocks must be sufficiently painful or distressing to cause a change in the dog’s behaviour.
SPCA advocates for a ban on the production, importation, sale and use of electric shock collars. Several other countries have already banned the use of these devices. Most recently, England announced a ban which will come into force in 2024.
Veterinarians, animal welfare groups, and many dog training organisations have long recognised that punishment-based training can be detrimental to pets, and can contribute to various behavioural and health problems including increased risk of aggression, high levels of stress, and the overall damaging of the relationship between owner and pet.
“Electric shock collars are inhumane, unnecessary, and can cause numerous problems,” says SPCA Scientific Officer Dr Alison Vaughan. “Many people who use them may not realise that the dog may also associate the shock with other things in the environment, including the human operating the collar.”
SPCA supports the use of low-stress, force-free training methods and equipment that apply reward-based learning and effectively accomplish the training objective without causing any pain or distress to the animal.
The petition, started by Veterinary Nurse Kylee Kelly, closes on 1 July.