Electric shock collars used to train animals are set to be banned in England under new Government proposals.
Animal charities and the Kennel Club have long-campaigned for a ban on the “cruel” devices, which deliver a shock or emit a noise or smell which is painful to the pet, and cost anywhere from £10 to £200.
They are already banned in Wales and Scotland, and the Government is now opening a short consultation over outlawing them in England.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “We are a nation of animal lovers, and the use of these punitive devices can cause harm and suffering, whether intentionally or unintentionally, to our pets.
“Organisations and MPs have campaigned against the use of shock collars passionately and we are listening to their concerns.
“We are now proposing to ban the use of electric shock collars to improve the welfare of animals.”
Research has shown that the collars are often counterproductive, leading animals to re-direct aggression or generate anxiety-based behaviour.
Positive training methods, based on reward and encouragement, are more successful and less harmful, according to pet organisations.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is launching the six week consultation amid growing public concern, and campaigns from the Dog’s Trust and the RSPCA.
David Bowles, head of public affairs for RSPCA, told Sky News: “For dogs, the evidence is pretty clear that there are huge welfare products with this on dogs, and if you have got problems with your dog it is much better to do positive training. The dog may not even know why it is being shocked.”
He said pet owners with the collars should “look at why they’re using it” and throw them away.
Caroline Kisko, Secretary of Kennel Club, which runs the Crufts Dog show, said: “Training a dog with an electric shock collar causes physical and psychological harm and is never acceptable, especially given the vast array of positive training methods available.
“We are delighted that the Government has listened to the Kennel Club’s long standing campaign to ban electric shock collars and hope that a ban on their use is imposed swiftly.
“Shock collars are often marketed as a harmless quick fix solution. The truth is that far from providing a solution, they can easily cause more problems than they seek to fix.”