Fireworks

RSPCA Cymru has received more than 150 calls in the last five years related to concern for animals and fireworks.

Between 2013 and 2017, the charity recieved 152 calls from across Wales from members of the public concerned that fireworks could be having a damaging impact on animal welfare.

The animal welfare charity is now bracing itself for more calls about animals negatively impacted by the entertainment explosives, as Wales prepares to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night.

RSPCA Cymru wants to see the use of fireworks limited to agreed traditional dates – such as Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali.

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

5-Yr Total

Blaenau Gwent

-

-

4

1

1

6

Bridgend

-

1

1

1

-

3

Caerphilly

1

-

2

2

1

6

Cardiff

12

4

7

4

6

33

Carmarthenshire

-

2

4

1

1

8

Ceredigion

-

-

1

-

-

1

Conwy

1

-

4

3

-

8

Denbighshire

-

1

-

8

-

9

Flintshire

-

-

1

-

2

3

Gwynedd

-

2

-

-

-

2

Isle of Anglesey

3

-

-

-

-

3

Merthyr Tydfil

1

-

1

-

-

2

Monmouthshire

-

1

1

-

1

3

Neath Port Talbot

-

-

3

1

2

6

Newport

-

1

4

3

2

10

Pembrokeshire

-

1

1

-

-

2

Powys

1

1

-

3

1

6

Rhondda Cynon Taff

2

2

4

5

2

15

Swansea

2

5

-

3

2

12

The Vale of Glamorgan

1

1

-

1

1

4

Torfaen

2

2

-

-

-

4

Wrexham

-

3

-

1

2

6

Total

26

27

38

37

24

152


The charity also supports moves to reduce the maximum permitted noise level for fireworks for public sale to 97 decibels. Fireworks louder than this would only be used for licensed public displays.

RSPCA also believes all public fireworks displays should be licensed by the local authority, with information about the display made available in the local area – providing animal owners with more time to plan and prepare.

Avoiding walking dogs in the evening, playing masking sounds and providing safe spaces for pets to hide are among the practical steps pet-owners can take to mitigate welfare risks.

Much advice is published by the RSPCA about keeping animals safe during fireworks.

In January 2018, the UK Government set up the Office for Product Safety and Standards following two Parliamentary debates – including one led by Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones – about the negative impact of fireworks. The RSPCA now wishes to see further action.

The renewed calls come amid a new survey  which found that 38%* of dogs show signs of  fear at loud noises, such as fireworks.

Lisa Hens, RSPCA companion animal welfare expert, said: “As people across Wales prepare to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, we’re issuing an important reminder about the problems fireworks can cause for pets, farm animals and wildlife.

“Some 38% of dogs show signs of  fear at loud noises, while other pets, farm animals and wildlife can all be impacted negatively by firework displays.

“In Wales, over the last five years – from 2013 to 2017 – we’ve received 152 calls flagging concern for animals amid fireworks; and we’re preparing ourselves for more in the coming days.

“Fireworks can lead to serious welfare concerns for many animals, but noise phobia is a treatable condition in pets. Giving owners time to prepare is a key step in mitigating these risks.

“That’s why the RSPCA backs ensuring displays always fall on dates like Guy Fawkes Night, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali.


“Crucially, we are not calling for a restriction to public displays – but instead, we want to see an end to the unexpected noise which owners cannot plan for.  Having set days where displays can take place is obviously vital in ensuring people know when they have to take such extra precautions.

“Decision-makers could also reduce the maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale to 97 decibels, comparable with the sound of a slamming door. Fireworks louder than this should only be used for licensed public displays.

“We know Bonfire Night can be an exciting time of year – and believe these key steps will ensure the occasion is safer for our animal friends.”

Sadly, it is not only household pets that are affected by fireworks. Horses and farm animals can easily be frightened by loud noises and sudden flashes of bright light, which can startle them and cause them to injure themselves on fencing or other equipment. Wildlife can also be burnt alive after making their home in bonfires.

If you wish to help RSPCA Cymru, you can donate online. The RSPCA is a charity and relies on public donations.