The arguments for and against the use of Electric Pulse Training Aids (EPTAs) on pets have been published in a report led by Professor Daniel Mills.

The review by the Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC) looks at current scientific research and evidence from members of the public, with regards to the moral complexity surrounding EPTAs or “shock collars”.

Lead author Professor Mills, from the School of Life Sciences, said that people who support the use and those who are against it both have a real concern about dog welfare and want to do what is best for their pet.

Prof Mills, who is a CAWC committee member, said: “Sometimes it’s portrayed that people who use EPTAs are cruel and ignorant, but I don’t think that’s the case. People are genuinely looking for a solution to a potentially serious problem which impacts on their quality of life and that of others. For example, a dog that worries sheep can be devastating to a farmer’s business. But just keeping a dog on a lead the whole time when you live in the countryside is not good for the pet so that is why a solution needs to be found.”

It is estimated that around 300,000 “shock collars” are in use in the UK alone, and although the report notes that the devices can be used to inflict suffering there is insufficient evidence to indicate whether significant suffering is routinely the outcome of their use.

The full report is available at the CAWC website