Laws and ideology

Laws follow ideologies, and both spread rapidly spread in today’s world of instant information (and disinformation). Many thanks to one of my blog followers who keeps me abreast of trends, issues and laws elsewhere, which in turn allows me to keep you up to date on what’s coming down the pike.

As with so many of these laws sponsored by activists, those who are punished most are conscientious, responsible, and law-abiding citizens. Laws stemming from emotional activism rather than sound rationale are generally not well thought out and have many unintended consequences. They create fear and uncertainty because they are often arbitrary, inconsistent and are implemented before being fully understood. For example, in Ireland it is still legal for veterinarians to dock the tails of working and hunting dogs, however they are now afraid to do so for fear of losing their licenses. (Irish

So here we go again, this time with electronic or e-collars as the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust are calling for a ban on them in Scotland. Now, back in the “good old days” before e-collars, abusive owners and trainers resorted to more direct forms of abuse such as kicking, hitting, stomping, and shooting their dogs. Some of the legendary trainers such as Bill Tarrant opposed abusive treatment and presented more humane training methods, and were to a large extent, ostracized by the establishment. However that is what we will return to if e-collars are banned – although unfortunately enough, we have not entirely put that behind us.

What so people don’t understand is that abusive behavior and mindset cannot be eliminating simply by eliminating the tools used to deliver that abuse. Animal abuse will not end by banning e-collars since abusive people will simply resort to previously mentioned forms of abuse. In the same way that breed-specific laws punish good owners and dogs and create criminals out of law-abiding citizens, banning e-collars will punish responsible users. And in the same way that a ban on tail docking harms the dog in the long run, banning e-collars will harm dogs as well – permanently if not fatally.

It took me a long time to accept e-collars, but then I learned from my trainer how to use them properly.  Most e-collars today have a “tone” setting which emits a low level beep, and is the setting I use almost exclusively. E-collars also have a range of levels from a mild vibration to a heavy shock that does not physically harm the dog – but again, it is the person pressing the button who determines whether the device is used responsibly or abusively.

Should the question arise then yes, I did try the e-collar on myself before putting it on my dogs. I figured that was the best way of knowing the level of stimulation I was giving them. So what’s our dogs’ reaction when they see me get out the e-collar? They go wild with excitement. To them, the e-collar does not represent anything negative; rather, it represents the excitement of hunting and training.

A ban on e-collars will have unintended consequences, however activists have little or no regard for the unintended consequences of their actions. And as these ideologies spread, so do the laws that follow.

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2 Responses to Laws and ideology

  1. I disagree with the premise that an ecollar can ever be abusive. Honestly a person bent on abuse is not going to bother to strap on a collar. I think when we accept the activist premise and then say, “but, but….” we have already lost the argument. As for refusing to dock the tail of a hunting dog, I think that goes back to the “animal rights” training that is so prevalent in modern vet schools.


    • Thanks for your input. I think that people who use them responsibly wouldn’t consider using them in a heavy-handed or abusive manner, but if that’s how they’re being branded, then that’s the argument we’re going to face. I have a co-worker who used to run hounds and would laugh about how he’d teach them to respect the e-collar by hitting them with heavy jolts that would set them howling; the pleasure he seemed to get out of it put it in the abusive category for me.


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