The Environment Secretary's words will come as a surprise to some

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During environment questions at the House of Commons yesterday, Environment Secretary, Michael Gove MP advised MPs that he recognises the benefits of electronic collars used in boundary fence systems, as a consultation proposing a total ban on the use of these devices comes to a close today. 

Play a valuable part

 Mr Gove said “Containment fences can play a valuable part in making sure that individual animals – dogs and cats – roam free in the domestic environment in which they are loved and cared for”. The comments stunned MPs who were expecting the Government to introduce a ban on electronic collars used for all purposes as proposed in the Defra consultation.

 Mr Gove was responding to a question from John Hayes MP, who uses a ‘containment fence’ for his pet cat, during a compelling session in the Commons.

 Dog safe

Countryside Alliance Political Relations Manager, James Somerville-Meikle, commented: “This is a significant acknowledgement from the Secretary of State. People who use electronic collars to keep their cat or dog safe and secure are responsible pet owners, and should not be criminalised.  There is no public interest or animal welfare argument to be made for banning electronic collars used in boundary fence systems and we are delighted that this message seems to have got through to the Government.

 “The Countryside Alliance will work hard to make sure that the comments made by the Secretary of State are reflected in any new legislation brought forward. We also hope that the Government will reflect on the proposals more broadly and consider the introduction of a licensing system for their use for training purposes rather than moving to an outright ban.”

 The consultation closed on 27 April and a large number of Countryside Alliance members and supporters submitted responses. The Government will issue an official response in due course.

electric collar on Labrador

The Kennel Club opposes electric collars but they can be used effectively in gundog training

 Electric collars are already banned in Wales and Scotland.