RSPCA calls for support for its #BangOutOfOrder campaign
Animal charities are calling for much tighter restrictions on fireworks after once again revealing a catalogue of complaints and incidents in the build-up to and aftermath of November 5th.
Officials say thousands of people are supporting their campaign with many saying their pets were “frightened out of their wits” and also pointing out that the so-called Bonfire Night celebrations actually stretched over two weeks.
This mainly relates to the UK as Spain doesn’t mark November 5th like Britain though expats in Tenerife do still let off fireworks during parties.
The RSPCA has launched its #BangOutOfOrder campaign in a bid to make fireworks less frightening for animals.
They say: “We’re not asking for a total ban on fireworks but believe that regulations should be changed to protect animal welfare.”
Every year, the organisation receives hundreds of calls about fireworks and animals: 434 in 2016, 533 in 2017 and 411 in 2018.
A recent poll confirmed around 62 per cent of dogs show signs of distress during fireworks. This alone means thousands of animals are affected by unplanned and random fireworks each year.
Results also saw other animals showing distress during fireworks: 54 per cent of cats and 55 per cent of horses.
The British Horse Society reports 20 deaths, ten severe injuries, and 88 mild to moderate injuries in horses in fireworks incidents since 2010.
Sadly it’s not just household pets that are affected by fireworks.
Farm animals are easily frightened by loud noises and sudden flashes of bright light, which can startle and cause them to injure themselves on fencing and farm equipment.
Wildlife, like hedgehogs, are also at risk of being burnt alive after making their homes in bonfires.
Fireworks are also highly disturbing to some birds and have caused abandonment of nests or even whole colonies.
“In a recent poll, we found out that 85 per cent think public firework displays should be licensed. This is just one of the regulation changes we’re calling for. If you agree, take action by encouraging your local council to put forward changes,” said an RSPCA spokesman.
The Blue Cross animal charity is also calling for changes.
They say: “Blue Cross has joined with other charities to ask the government to consider the impact of fireworks on animals, children and vulnerable people, and look again at fireworks regulations.”
“While fireworks are fun and exciting for many, the sudden loud bangs and flashes mean they can also cause fear and confusion for dogs, cats, horses, other animals and people. Current legislation allows adults to set off fireworks between 7am and 11pm at any time of year, and this unpredictability makes it difficult for pet owners and vulnerable people to plan to avoid them. Around Bonfire Night, Diwali, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year, fireworks can be let off even later. At times of the year popular with fireworks, any retailer can sell them without needing a licence.”
“Together with PTSD UK, Children’s Burns Trust, the British Veterinary Association, Dogs Trust, Cats Protection, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, and the Kennel Club, we are today highlighting the debilitating effect that fireworks can have on vulnerable people and pets. We are asking members of the Houses of Commons and Lords to sign a pledge calling on the government to review existing fireworks law with a view to place restrictions on their use that would alleviate the unnecessary distress on human and animal welfare.”
And here’s a quick reminder with other celebrations to come:
Always keep dogs and cats inside when fireworks are being let off
Make sure your dog is walked earlier in the day before the fireworks start
Close all windows and doors, and block off catflaps to stop pets escaping and to keep noise to a minimum. Draw the curtains, and if the animals are used to the sounds of TV or radio, switch them on (but not too loudly) in order to block out some of the noise of the fireworks.
Ensure dogs are wearing some form of easily readable identification (ID) – even in the house. They should have at least a collar and tag.
Think about fitting pets with a microchip, so that if they do run away they have a better chance of being quickly reunited with you
Prepare a ‘den’ for your pet where it can feel safe and comfortable – perhaps under a bed with some of your old clothes. They may like to hide there when the fireworks start.
Let your pet pace around, whine, miaow and hide in a corner if they want to. Do not try to coax them out – it’s just trying to find safety, and should not be disturbed.
Stay calm, act normally and give lots of praise for calm behaviour. It’s OK to cuddle and stroke your pet if it helps them relax, but if they prefer to hide under your bed, then let them do this instead.
Avoid leaving your pet alone during such potentially upsetting events. If you do have to leave the house, don’t get angry with your pet if you find they have been destructive or toileted after being left on its own. Shouting at a frightened pet will only make them more stressed.
Don’t tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off, ie outside a shop while you pop inside, or leave them in the garden or in your car.