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Sheep farmers tell Sunak e-collar ban will add to ‘growing menace of dog attacks’

The ban on remote-controlled e-collars will worsen the “growing menace of dog attacks” on sheep, farmers have warned Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

More than 400 sheep farmers have signed a letter to Sunak – seen by The Telelgraph – “demanding action to reduce dog attacks”, while also warning that the ban on e-collars will increase livestock attacks and the number of out-of-control dogs being shot.

Phil Stocker, Chief Executive of the National Sheep Association, who sent the letter, said: “Defra says that some half a million dogs are trained with e-collars. If that training is banned next February, the consequences during lambing season will cause fury around the countryside.”

In addition, the 441 signatories said that they welcomed government campaigns for people to keep dogs on leads, but it was not enough.

“Fines alone will not solve the problem,” the letter says. “Yet please do not make it even worse by banning e-collar training for high prey drive dogs.”

It adds: “Science shows that dogs trained with e-collars show no appetite for attacking sheep even when they have escaped from their owners.”

Defra has yet to comment on The Telegraph’s story.

Meanwhile, West Mercia Police are trying to trace a dog owner after as many as 28 sheep have been killed at different farms. Officers have released a picture of one of the offending dogs.


  • Joanne Pick

    This ban will result in a lot of dogs either being pts at a young age, or having stressful lives due to limited stimulation and exercise.

  • Charlotte Kasner, MA, AdipCBM, AdipFBM, KPA-CTP, ABTC-AT,MISAP

    “Science” in fact demonstrates the exact opposite; training with punishments inhibits learning and does not teach alternative behaviour.

    Blackwell EJ et al (2008) The relationship between training methods and the occurrence of behaviour problems, as reported by owners, in a population of domestic dogs, Journal of Veterinary Behaviour, V3(5), pp 207-217

    Deldalle S and Gaunet F (2014) Effects of 2 training methods on stress-related behaviours of the dog (Canis familiaris) and on the dog-owner relationship, Journal of Veterinary Behaviour, V9, pp 58-65,

    Gabrielsen AM (2017) Training technologies, science, humans and dogs in the age of positive dog training, Nordic Journal of Science and Technology Studies, v5(1), pp 6-16

    Hiby EF, Rooney NJ and Bradshaw JWS (2004) Dog training methods: their use, effectiveness
    and interaction with behaviour and welfare, Animal Welfare, V13, pp 63-69

    Kelleher RT and Gollub LR (1962) A review of positive conditioned reinforcement,Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour, V5(S4), pp 543-597 etc etc etc

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