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31st October 2019

By Karen Pickwick

The RSPCA has released a new report highlighting the stress fireworks cause to animals, to coincide with the start of bonfire season.

The charity would like to see the public sale and use of fireworks further limited to being closer to four specific celebration and festival dates (November 5, December 31, Chinese New Year and Diwali).

There should also be a noise restriction on the maximum level of decibels fireworks can reach and all public fireworks displays should be licensed and advertised in advance, the charity says.

Figures from the RSPCA show that hundreds of calls from people concerned about animals, including alpacas and an African grey parrot as well as dogs and horses – are made about fireworks every year to the charity.

Since 2014 it has received 2,285 calls about fireworks, with 411 of these calls last year alone.

STRONG FEELING

RSPCA government relations manager Claire McParland said: “We see the impact of fireworks on animals every year and we know there is strong public feeling about the use of fireworks with more than 100,000 people signing petitions to restrict their use in recent years.

“We are urging the UK Government to act on this strength of feeling - which would support owners to help their animals cope at this time of year.

“There is current legislation in place but the RSPCA believes the Fireworks Act 2003 and the Fireworks Regulations 2004 don’t go far enough.

“The public can help by visiting our website and writing to their local council to request restrictions on fireworks at a local level.”

DISTRESS


An RSPCA survey carried out this month (October) found that 62% of dog owners said their animals showed signs of distress during the fireworks season, and 54% of cat owners also reported their animals were showing signs of distress. Of all the people polled, 76% agreed with the charity’s policy that fireworks should be restricted to traditional dates and 85% said they thought public firework displays should be licensed and advertised before taking place.

Although it is possible for vets to manage firework phobias in some species, such as dogs, the RSPCA believes if animal owners knew when to expect fireworks it would help them to prepare their animals so they would be better able to cope.

This year the RSPCA has contributed evidence to an inquiry set up by the UK Parliament’s Petitions Committee to look into fireworks as a result of public feeling. The charity has also met with the British Fireworks Association, as well as various organisations at a local level including Rotary clubs to spread the message that fireworks cause stress to animals.