The Animal Welfare Committee of the Flemish Parliament has approved a phasing-out scenario for the use of electric shock dog collars.
In concrete terms, Flemish Animal Welfare Minister Ben Weyts wants to ban the use and sale of electric collars with a remote control and electric collars that punish dogs for barking as of 2027, reports the Belga News Agency.
"Electric collars for dogs were not questioned for a long time, but we have evolved as a Flemish society," said Weyts in a press release. "It is our damned duty to effectively avoid avoidable animal suffering. Obsolete instruments such as most electric collars no longer belong in Flanders."
The ban on electric collars has been a topic of discussion for a long time.
Opponents say that the collars, which give dogs an electric shock when they bark or when the owner wants to admonish them, for example, cause unnecessary animal suffering. But some agencies, such as the military and police, use electric collars to train animals.
Certain behavioural therapists also opposed the ban, as they said that the electric collars are necessary tools for them.
During the transitional period until 2027, institutions that use electric collars in the training of animals can switch to animal-friendly alternatives, as there will be no exceptions for military, police or behavioural therapists.
However, collars that are set on an invisible fence remain allowed. With this type of collar, the animal only feels something when a known boundary is exceeded. In other words, the animal can avoid any shock by simply staying within the perimeter.