RSPCA Cymru is calling for action to tackle the unnecessary stress caused to animals at this time of year, as colourful and loud fireworks are set to light up Wales’ skies – potentially frightening pets, wildlife and other species.
The animal welfare charity is throwing its support behind concerned pet owners and animal lovers with its ‘Bang Out Of Order’ campaign; encouraging the responsible use of fireworks, and the adoption of tighter regulations concerning their use.
RSPCA wants to see limits to the public sale and use of fireworks closer to four popular celebration dates – Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali.
Many people enjoy the bangs, pops, whistles and bursts of colour provided by fireworks. However, the unpredictable nature of these loud noises and bright flashing lights can be a source of great difficulty for many animals – so the RSPCA is trying to secure more predictability around these stressful time periods, and more responsible use of fireworks.
A spate of calls to the RSPCA about the impact fireworks have on animals has prompted the charity to campaign for:
noise restrictions on the maximum level of decibels in fireworks available to the public
mandatory licensing and prominent advertising for all public displays
heightened awareness on the impact of fireworks on the animals around us
Animal lovers are being urged to contact their local council to call for action, including better advertising of public firework displays, and to encourage local suppliers of fireworks to stock ‘quieter’ fireworks for public display.
In a recent survey, 62% of dog owners reported their pets showing signs of distress during fireworks season, with 54% of cat owners experiencing the same. Unfortunately, this is indicative of a much larger problem, suggesting that potentially thousands of animals face misery every year.
Surveys demonstrate strong public support for action. 76% of respondents agree that fireworks should be restricted to traditional dates, while 85% said they thought public displays should be licensed and advertised before taking place. RSPCA Cymru advises those holding their own displays to let their neighbours know in advance, so that they can help prepare their pets and minimise distress.
2,285 calls have been received by the RSPCA in England and Wales related to concerns about animal welfare and fireworks since 2014 – with 411 of these calls last year alone.
RSPCA Cymru advises those holding their own displays to let their neighbours know in advance, so that they can help prepare their pets and minimise distress – emphasising that “preparedness” is key in mitigating welfare risks to animals.
Shelley-Marie Phillips, RSPCA campaigns manager, said: “Sadly, fireworks and firework noise can lead to fear, distress and sometimes injury for many animals.
“Across England and Wales, we received over 400 calls last year about animals negatively impacted – so we’re calling for action to tackle this unnecessary stress and help keep animals safe at this time of year.
“Fireworks can cause problems for so many animals – from pets and farm animals; to wildlife, who can also be burned after making their homes in bonfires. Quite simply – it is bang out of order.
“That’s why we want to see action taken – from ensuring animal owners have the chance to be more prepared, to seeing tighter regulations around the sale of fireworks and advertising for displays.
“We’re asking supporters to join us in taking action against fireworks – by writing to their local Councillors and calling for action at a local level – from better advertising of displays, to a public awareness campaign and encouraging stops to shock lower-noise alternatives.
“There’s so many steps pet owners can take to mitigate risks. Preparedness is really important, and our website is full of advice for pet owners on how to help their animals through firework season, whether this is by building a safe den, finding hiding places for cats or closing windows and curtains to help soundproof against the noise.”