Opinion Former Article

Scottish government u-turn puts dogs' lives at risk, says BASC

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has reversed a decision taken in November to allow the use of the devices under trained supervision.

The government will now issue guidance that prosecutions should be brought under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 for “suffering caused by inappropriate training methods”.

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation believes electronic collars used properly are an effective method for addressing serious problem behaviours in dogs which may otherwise be destroyed.

BASC Scotland director Dr Colin Shedden said: “BASC and many other organisations and individuals made the case that the use of such remote training devices had been incredibly helpful in addressing problematic behaviour, such as sheep worrying, in a small number of dogs.

“Without the restricted but effective use of these devices, many otherwise well-behaved family pets and working dogs would probably have had to be put down.

“BASC is surprised that, after full and detailed consultation and consideration of the use of electronic collars for the remedial management of behavioural issues in dogs in 2017, we now find that the initial decision to allow the use of such training devices has been overturned.

“Full consultation resulted in Government accepting that such training devices would continue to be allowed under the supervision of veterinary surgeons or appropriate dog trainers.”

Dr Shedden also expressed concerns about the manner in which the Scottish government has reversed its earlier position without further consultation after citing the existence of a petition signed by 20,000 people as some justification for the u-turn.

Dr Shedden added: “While we recognise that a petition may have secured 20,000 signatories in favour of this ban, we would remind the Scottish government that an even larger petition urged them not to introduce air weapon licensing. This was ignored.

“If a relatively small petition that has not even been considered by the Petitions Committee can overturn government policy that was determined after full and comprehensive consultation, and consideration of research findings on a complex issue, then we are concerned for the future direction of policy determination.”

ENDS

For more information, please contact BASC’s press office on 01244 573007 or email press@basc.org.uk

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