Leading animal welfare campaigning charity is urging members of the public not to host private fireworks displays in the absence of regulated public displays.
Due to restrictions on public gatherings to curb COVID-19, charity OneKind is anticipating a surge in amateur firework displays on private properties. This seriously compromises the welfare of companion and farmed animals, as their guardians are unlikely to be given enough notice to put preventative measures in place. Fireworks can also cause harm to wild animals.
OneKind Director, Bob Elliot said:
“We are disappointed that the Scottish Government did not discourage members of the public from hosting private fireworks displays in its Ministerial statement today. However, we welcome the commitment from the Scottish and UK governments to set a maximum decibel level for fireworks sold in the future.
The noise from loud fireworks can be a real source of fear, distress and injury for animals, especially when fireworks are let off unexpectedly. One of the common stories we hear from OneKind supporters is that the unpredictable use of fireworks causes additional difficulty in protecting their pets. Worryingly, RSPCA polling has revealed that the number of people plan to host or attend private firework displays has doubled from 2019.
“While we understand people’s disappointment that firework displays may be cancelled due to COVID-19, we urge the Scottish public to refrain from private firework displays, to protect animals’ wellbeing.”
OneKind Campaigner & Press Officer, Eve Massie, recalls when her dog fled because of unexpected fireworks:
“My Labrador was terrified of fireworks. The first time he was exposed to fireworks, we were walking him off lead in a local forest area in an early evening of late October. Petrified, he fled and ran across a busy road and a railway track before freezing in fear. Luckily, we managed to get to him without him incurring any injuries, but it could have easily been a different story and that stays with me to this day. As these fireworks were set on a private property before Bonfire Night, we couldn’t have foreseen the situation.”
Stating the measures OneKind is calling for, OneKind Director, Bob Elliot, said:
“We are encouraged that the Scottish Government’s Fireworks Review Group has considered the negative impact of fireworks on animals. We would like to see more restrictions on the period of sale of unlicensed fireworks to the public. The period of sale for Bonfire Night fireworks, from 15th October to 10th November, is simply too long as it allows for prolonged use of fireworks, exacerbating animals stress. The Scottish Government has not yet fully determined to what extent they will make changes to the period of sale but have committed to looking into this as soon as possible. We hope that they will take our recommendations, and those of many others concerned with animal welfare, into consideration.
“We were frustrated that the UK Government chose not to ban the sales of fireworks to the general public during its debate yesterday. 92% of those that responded to the Scottish Government’s fireworks consultation are in favour of tighter controls surrounding the use of fireworks.”
Notes to Editor