Animal Welfare

Ban Electric Shock Collars

Ross took a Scottish Conservative campaign against “barbaric” electric shock dog collars to Westminster.

He wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) and arranged a meeting urging a ban on the sale, use and distribution of the devices.

Mr Thomson, a dog owner, said the UK Government should follow the lead of the Welsh and Scottish parliaments in seeking to outlaw the dog training aids.

His Conservative party colleague, West of Scotland MPS Maurice Golden, collected 20,000 signatures on a petition against the use of the collars. Following his local campaign, the Scottish Government announced it would be seeking a ban.

In his letter to Michael Gove, Mr Thomson cited evidence collected by EFRA officials showing that one in four dogs subjected to electric shock collars showed signs of stress compared to fewer than five percent who were trained by more positive methods.

Ross said:

“Like many other people, I am a dog owner, and I feel very strongly that these devices are cruel and unnecessary. Given the advances in positive, reward-based training, there is simply no place for this type of punishment. My party colleague at Holyrood, Maurice Golden MSP, deserves huge credit for his campaign north of the border, which has forced the Scottish Government to act. There has been similar action in Wales, and now it is time for the UK Government to follow suit. Tightening regulations will not be enough, however. I am proposing an outright ban on the sale, use and distribution of these devices. I will be making the case as strongly as possible and I hope that I will secure cross-party support. Quite simply, electric shock dog collars are barbaric and outdated and the law should reflect that.”


Pet Theft

After being elected to Parliament in June 2017 Ross was involved in a number of pet and animal welfare issues. He campaigned to ban the use and sale of electric shock collars, for the introduction of Lucy’s Law, for the introduction of Finn’s Law, for action to deal with puppy smuggling and for tougher sentences for Animal cruelty.

Ross was made aware of the growing issue of pet theft during the campaign he was running to ban the use and sale of electric shock dog collars. Dog owners who had suffered the distress of having their dog stolen contacted him to share their stories which were truly heart-breaking. 

Ross brought forward the Pet (Theft) Bill in July 2018 to change the law.

Ross said:

"Looking into this issue further I discovered recent findings published by Direct Line Pet Insurance, using UK police statistics, which show an upward trend in pet thefts in recent years, with a 14% rise in 2016 and a further 6.8% increase in 2017. Last year, 61 French bulldogs were stolen – a 27% rise year on year, while Staffies remain the most targeted dog with 210 stolen in 2017. I came to the conclusion that a change in the law could have a significant impact on these figures.

"A change in the law is necessary to deliver justice for victims of pet theft, and to give more peace of mind to the 12 million UK households with a pet. This Bill will create a new, separate criminal offence in its own right of pet theft, recognising the self-evident fact that the theft of a living, sentient being is in a whole different category to the theft of an inanimate object. We are talking about the abduction of an animal, of what most pet owners would consider a central part of their family. It’s a crime that’s either more thoughtless or more malicious – or both – than the theft of an inanimate possession. And the Bill will also require that sentencing is appropriate to the level of emotional harm caused by the theft, recognising that, for victims of pet theft, it’s the emotional loss, not the financial loss, that really matters. My intention is that this Bill effect these necessary changes across Great Britain – in England and Wales, yes, but also in Scotland."

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