Thursday 26 February 2009

Emotive twaddle on electric collars

The latest whiny press release from the Kennel Club has got my back up. It's full of emotive claptrap and half-truths - the sort of rubbish we expect from Animal Aid and their fluffy-minded chums.

Where do I start? The first sentence is more weaselly than the average politician:
Dog behaviourists and trainers denounce them; scientific research shows that they can cause severe interference and pain; and new research shows that dogs trained using confrontational methods will continue to be aggressive – so why are electric training devices still legal?
Er, SOME behaviourists and trainers denounce them. Some swear by them. Scientific research shows they CAN cause blah blah IF misused. The new research is irrelevant; properly used these aids are NOT confrontational. And why are they still legal? Because they are an invaluable training aid in specific circumstances, and have quite literally saved many dogs' lives (including two very happy spaniels of my acquaintance, who are certainly not traumatised by fear and pain, as these mithering nitwits would have you believe). And is there any evidence of their misuse? I've not seen it. So are we dealing with a real problem here, or just a hypothetical one?

To the average joe public, the idea of giving a dog an electric shock just SOUNDS so horrid. For the KC, it's the path of least resistance. But that's the same thinking that goes 'it's cruel to shoot ickle foxes - it must be banned'.

Just for fun, see how many propaganda techniques you can spot being used in that press release.

If we're going to ban things because they can be misused in dog training, where shall we start? Sticks, leads, rolled-up newspaper... you name it, some moron can misuse it to hurt a dog. The answer is not to ban them all - the moron will still hurt his dog, and ordinary, responsible dog owners will have valuable aids denied to them.

If the Kennel Club is going to claim to speak for dog owners, it should make sure it represents their views fairly, rather than presenting a one-sided case.

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