Cricketer Ian Botham attacks ‘Soviet-style bureaucracy’ of Welsh Government’s electric dog collar ban
Ian Botham has become the latest to attack the Welsh Government’s ban on electric dog collars, saying that it was an example of “Soviet-style bureaucracy” in the countryside.
The English cricketer’s comments follow those by TV presenter Gareth Wyn Jones who called for Wales’ ban on electric dog collars to be scrapped over the weekend.
In 2010, Wales became the first UK region to outlaw the use of electric collars, while Scotland issued guidance discouraging their use in 2018.
Some Welsh Conservatives have already been vocal in their opposition to the ban, with former Welsh Secretary David Jones saying that new data made clear that the “ban has failed and, paradoxically, is leading to many animal deaths”.
Ian Botham, who was given a peerage in 2020, said that the “stupidities keep growing” with the latest being a plan by England’s environmental protection department, Defra, to follow Wales and ban the practice of shock collars for dogs.
Writing in the Telegraph he described the shock collars as the “only scientifically proven way to stop dogs ripping out the throats of sheep”.
“Guess what happened in Wales when this training was banned? Attacks on sheep soared. The Telegraph revealed in March that there are four times more attacks on sheep in Wales than in Scotland, where e-collars are allowed.
“So we will be seeing more dead sheep on the hills of England over the next few years. And more dead dogs after farmers shoot them.”
He added that: “The Soviet Union failed because bureaucrats tried to run every detail of life.”
His comments come after the NFU released data showing that Welsh farmers suffered £306,068 in losses from dog attacks last year compared with £68,408 in Scotland.
The Welsh Government however have said that they have no plans to review the position, saying that e-collars “cause pain”.
Last week farmer Gareth Wyn Jones said that “you have to be cruel to be kind” and that a collar stopping a dog from chasing livestock was better than having to put a dog down after it had killed a sheep.
The Government is banning things because they believe that it is cruel, but what is crueller? For a sheep to be ripped to pieces or for a dog to have a little electric shock which is less than they get from a fence?
“These collars are a deterrent. You don’t have to be clever to understand that proper training can save lives – sheep lives, dogs’ lives, or even people’s lives as owners get into serious problems and we have seen people trampled when they have a dog that is chasing livestock.”
He added: “The Government has to go back and look at the evidence, they have to listen to the people on the ground.”
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