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Animal Welfare: Electric Shock

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 41952, tabled on 3 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the maximum permitted electrical discharges (mJ) are for (a) dog training collars and (b) livestock fencing.

Answered on

13 September 2021

The UK is a global leader in animal welfare and this Government is committed to ensuring high standards. The maximum permitted electrical discharge for dog training collars and livestock fencing is not regulated under animal welfare legislation. However, such systems may be subject to other legislation which regulates the design and installation of electrical systems.

As set out in our Action Plan for Animal Welfare launched on 12 May 2021 we propose to ban some electronic training collars (e collars). Our decision reflects the concern that handheld remote-controlled devices can be all too easily open to abuse and therefore be harmful to animal welfare.

Regarding electric livestock fencing, our codes of recommendations and animal welfare guides for cattle, horses and sheep state that any electrical discharge must be felt only as slight discomfort by the animal. Those responsible for the welfare of farmed animals must therefore ensure that any electric fences are designed, constructed, used and maintained properly, and that systems prevent electricity being conducted anywhere it should not be, for example, gates and water troughs.

Breaching a provision within the codes is not an offence in itself, but if proceedings are brought against someone for an offence under the Animal Welfare Act (2006), the Court will look at whether or not they have complied with the relevant code in deciding whether they have committed an offence.