I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
I am conscious of the huge privilege of having the opportunity to introduce a private Member's Bill given my relatively short time in the House. I must express my surprise at having that opportunity today, because I did not expect it.
I thank the Bill's cross-party sponsors and all those on both sides of the House who have shown support. I also thank those who have signed my early-day motion 592 on electric shock training devices. I especially thank my hon. Friend Mr. Drew, who tabled amendments to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 along the lines of the measures set out in the Bill. I also thank the Kennel Club which, along with other charities, has worked tirelessly on this issue and which has helped me to introduce the Bill. At this point, I also want to pay tribute to the Government for all the good work that has been done for animal welfare, including the 2006 Act, which came into force on
There is a lot of support for the Bill, not just in the House but across the country more widely. I have received far more messages in support of it than I have received in opposition to it. I have also received a petition in support of it.
I was not aware of electric shock training devices until I was alerted to them by the Kennel Club last year, and I was horrified. The most well known of the devices is the electric shock collar, which in my view and the view of many others is cruel and unnecessary. For those who are not familiar with the concept, let me explain that the mechanics of the collar depend on the particular device chosen, but they are usually battery operated and the dog is subject to an electric current when she or he misbehaves. The idea is that that should be done to discourage negative behaviour.
I contend that there is an inherent and needless cruelty in that approach to training, and it is entirely unnecessary when there are plenty of positive training methods on the market. While some may say that a short sharp shock is worth it for an improvement in behaviour, I would argue that the shock is not short but repetitive, that it is not sharp but painful, that it does not always result in improved behaviour, and that there are alternative, painless methods to achieve that improved behaviour.