Vets at the UK’s leading provider of pet emergency care are calling for quiet fireworks at all New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Councillors in Edinburgh have agreed to investigate the impact of noise from firework displays and whether silent pyrotechnics could be used instead. It follows concerns that pets are being traumatised by the bangs and explosions that mark the climax of the city’s world-famous Hogmanay street party.
Now small animal emergency specialists Vets Now are urging other councils across the UK to consider following Edinburgh’s example. Amanda Boag, Vets Now’s clinical director, said she would welcome the use of silent or almost silent fireworks at New Year’s celebrations.
She said: “Fireworks now go off throughout the autumn and winter and this causes many pets and their owners a lot of distress. At these times we often see pets who have been burnt by fireworks or involved in road traffic accidents after being spooked and running onto the road.
“We welcome Edinburgh council’s plan to commission a report into the impact of noisy fireworks, and we look forward to seeing the results. “We know one of the options being considered is silent fireworks and this is something we would actively support across the country as it seems to represent a good compromise.”
It’s estimated 46% of dogs and 45% of cats are scared of noisy fireworks. Dogs will typically show fear by trembling, panting or drooling while some will hide, bark or jump on furniture. Cats might try to run away, cower, or they may even soil the house.
Before the millennium celebrations, very few towns or cities in the UK brought in New Year with a fireworks display.But since 2000 their popularity has soared and now councils spend tens of millions of pounds each year on pyrotechnics to light up the sky on New Year’s Eve.
Ms Boag added: “As a result of their growing popularity, fireworks are now routinely sold in shops from Boxing Day onwards. “This means the festive season can be just as distressing and frightening a time for our cats and dogs as Bonfire night.
“We would advise that you keep your pets indoors if you know a fireworks display is going to be held in your local area.”
In 2015, councillors in Collecchio, near Parma, passed a law banning the use of noisy fireworks due to their effects on the local pet population.
Disneyland Paris also agreed to use them following complaints from residents. Many fireworks manufacturers now produce quiet fireworks, and they insist they are just as visually impressive as their noisy equivalents.
Earlier this year, a petition to restrict the sale of fireworks to reduce stress and fear in pets was signed by more than 100,000 people. For a full list of fireworks do’s and don’ts for pets click here.
BREAK OUT BOX:
What is the law on fireworks?
It’s illegal to:
· buy “adult” fireworks if you’re under 18
· set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight, and New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am
· set off or throw fireworks, including sparklers, in the street or other public places
When can I buy fireworks?
You can only buy fireworks, including sparklers, from registered sellers for private use on:
· 15 October to 10 November
· 26 to 31 December
· three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year
· At all other times, you can only buy fireworks from licensed shops. Check with your council to find out about any local rules for setting off fireworks and remember; you can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to six months for selling or using fireworks illegally. You could also get an on-the-spot fine of £90.
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