The Scottish Government has published its new Fireworks and Pyrotechnics Bill, that aims to reduce the negative impact of fireworks and pyrotechnics on Scotland’s communities. We are very supportive of the Bill, which would likely drastically reduce the use of fireworks.
The noise of fireworks can be a real source of fear and distress for animals and we have long campaigned for tighter regulations surrounding the use and sale of fireworks in Scotland.
What does the Bill propose?
The Bill proposes to introduce tighter restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks and the misuse of pyrotechnics.
The Bill’s proposals include:
- the introduction of a fireworks licensing system
- a new power for local authorities to designate firework control zones, where it is not permitted for the public to use fireworks
- restricting the days fireworks can be sold to and used by the general public
- a new offence to criminalise the supply of fireworks and pyrotechnics to under-18s to ensure adults do not purchase such products on behalf of children
- a new offence of being in possession of a pyrotechnic while at, or travelling to, certain places or events, without reasonable excuse
What role did OneKind play in securing tighter regulations?
We have campaigned for many years for greater regulation of fireworks and responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on fireworks in Scotland with OneKind supporters’ experiences of their animals suffering at the hands of fireworks.
What impact does fireworks have on animals?
The noise of fireworks can be a real source of fear and distress for animals, as many who have shared their homes with animals will know. Over the years, we’ve heard from supporters whose animals have been unable to stop shaking, panting, pacing and attempting to hide. Sadly, some cases are more extreme, with reports of guardians unable to encourage their dog to go outside for days at a time during fireworks season and others who feel forced to leave their home during Bonfire season and head somewhere rural until the number of firework displays dies down.
The effect of fireworks on animals can even be fatal. Last year, we were upset to learn of 18 month year old epileptic dog, Ollie, who died from a seizure in his guardian’s arms during a fireworks display in their semi-rural community.
Firework displays on private properties are particularly stressful, as people in the area are unlikely to be notified in advance of the display and thus are unable to put measures in place to attempt to reduce their animal’s distress.
Farmed and wild animals
But, it is not just companion animals that may suffer due to fireworks. Farmed animals and wild animals can suffer just as much as the animals we share our homes with and yet they are often forgotten in the conversation surrounding fireworks and animal welfare. Wild animals, such as hedgehogs, are sadly even at risk of being burnt alive as they build their homes in bonfires.
The future of fireworks
We are delighted to see that the Scottish Government has listened to the concerns of the Scottish public and has proposed tighter restrictions on fireworks in response. Improved regulation of the sale and use of fireworks in Scotland will help to create safer communities for animals and humans alike.