BASC is urging the Scottish government not to ban the use of electronic dog collars as their consultation process on the issue closes today.
Almost 60 per cent of BASC members have working gundogs and will commonly use reward-based training to ensure high standards of behaviour in the field and home.
Nevertheless, the UK’s largest shooting organisation believes electronic training collars can safely be used when previous methods have failed to resolve serious behavioural problems such as chasing livestock. BASC is aware of circumstances when this approach has prevented “problem dogs” being put down.
BASC’s response to the government’s three-month formal consultation supports the status quo and does not recognise a need for either further legislation or an outright ban. BASC represents 11,000 members in Scotland.
BASC’s Scottish director, Dr Colin Shedden, said: “We are aware that there has been only one Scottish prosecution for the misuse of such training aids and consequently to consider further legislation or a ban is disproportionate. A ban on the use of such training aids could remove the solution to remedying the behaviour of certain problem dogs.”
“There is little scientific evidence relating to these aids being inherently harmful to the welfare of dogs, and no convincing evidence of long-term effects on welfare if collars are used in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions.”
Alan Balfour, chairman of BASC’s Scottish committee, said: “Animal welfare organisations are referring to the ‘potential’ of these training aids to inflict suffering, but there is no evidence to indicate that this is actually the case.
“At a time when the neglect and abandonment of pet dogs appears to be increasing, and causing real welfare issues, it would be better for these organisations to concentrate their energies on real problems rather than perceived ones.
“Working gundogs are highly valued by their owners and electronic training aids are rarely used, but may be required for a small number of dogs each year.”