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Wales zapped into action
Kennel Club re-ignites debate in Welsh Assembly

Representatives from the Kennel Club met with members of the Welsh Assembly last week, as part of an ongoing campaign to ban the use of electric shock training devices in Wales.

Holly Lee, Laura Vallance and Andrew DaviesThe National Assembly for Wales has already issued a consultation regarding a proposed ban which closed in February. The Kennel Club has had an excellent response from Assembly Members (AMs) across the political spectrum on the issue, and is now hoping to step up political pressure again to ensure that this important welfare issue remains high on the Ministers’ agenda.

The Kennel Club met with representatives including Trish Law AM, Andrew RT Davies AM, Brynle Williams AM and Angela Burns AM, who were all in agreement that the campaign should remain a priority for companion animal welfare in Wales.

Shadow Minister for Finance, Angela Burns AM (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire), pledged her support for a ban: “I am horrified that these devices are being sold and used in Wales. As a dog owner myself, I consider them to be a lazy training tool which will not teach the dog involved to truly obey and respect the commands of its owner. I have absolutely no hesitation in supporting the case for a ban.”

Trish Law AM(Blaenau Gwent) said: “As an Assembly Member who responded to the consultation, an animal lover, and owner of three dogs who is completely opposed to these barbaric devices, I will be urging the Minister to publish the results and to make an announcement as soon as possible.”

Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs,Brynle Williams AM(North Wales), said: “I first met with the Kennel Club to discuss this issue 18 months ago and during this time I have heard countless cases of dogs who have been injured because of these so-called training devices. The Assembly cannot allow this to continue.”

Shadow Minister for Transport,Andrew RT Davies AM(South Wales Central), echoed these comments: “I have been a supporter of this campaign for almost a year now, and I am deeply concerned that the longer it takes for a decision to be made, the greater the opportunity there will be for more and more products to find their way onto the market, as we are already beginning to see. I will be writing to the Minister to highlight this and to reaffirm my support for a ban.”

The Kennel Club has long been campaigning for the use of electric shock collars to be completely banned across the UK. Electric shock collars train a dog to respond out of fear of further punishment, having received a shock when it does not perform what is asked of it, rather than from a natural willingness to obey.

In order for the collar to serve effectively as a training tool, the dog has to perceive the shock as painful - moreover if the dog does not respond then the punishment has to escalate, creating further potential for abuse.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club spokesperson said: “The Kennel Club is delighted that so many AMs remain committed to helping us take forward this campaign. The issue always evokes strong reactions and we are extremely encouraged that AMs from all political parties remain as committed as we are to seeing a complete ban in Wales. We will continue to lobby the Minister and to raise the issue in the Assembly over the coming months.”