As we are about to come into the weekend that many dog owners and owners of other animals dread, is it time to reconsider our approach to fireworks? Personally, I have always hated fireworks and have no idea why some people get pleasure out of a few flashing lights and loud bangs and screeches. It was bad enough when it was restricted to November 5th and possibly the nearest weekend, but now, any gathering seems to be an excuse for fireworks from outdoor concerts to private parties.
This not only means that the duration of firework noise is extended, but that animal owners cannot predict when to take precautions to keep them safe or just less stressed. I have never encountered neighbours who had the courtesy to warn of their intention to let off fireworks and the law is regularly flouted with regard to restrictions on when they can be used.
Every year, although there are serious injuries caused by fireworks that put unnecessary pressure on already over stretched emergency services, recent attempts to restrict fireworks to public displays only have been rejected by parliament. The subject was last debated on June 6th, 2016. The short answer was “We are aware that fireworks can cause distress to animals. Restrictions on the general public’s use of fireworks and permitted noise levels already exist and we have no plans to extend them.”
This is no much consolation to those of us who have to deal with the serious effects that animals, including dogs, have to suffer as well as the distress to owners.
It seems unlikely that a call for a ban on public sale will have any success in the foreseeable future, so what if there was more publicity about better fireworks? The town of Collecchio near Parma, Italy has introduced local legislation requiring all citizens to use silent fireworks for the good of the community. In the UK, the UK Firework Review provides information about a variety of quieter and silent fireworks. There will probably always be people who get a thrill out of creating a great deal of noise who may not be persuaded, but it is possible that a substantial majority of people might.
Surely anything that reduces the noise will make life a little easier for stressed and frightened animals and their owners?
Get out there and spread the word! In the meantime, sign the petition for the mandatory use of silent fireworks in the UK.