Fireworks – damage limitation!

Firework season approaches again – and these days ‘firework season’ is a much better description than ‘bonfire night’. The debate continues between those who believe they have a right to get enjoyment from fireworks regardless and those who see the terror and anguish they can cause to so many of our animals – both domestic and wild – and who may have to cope with the aftermath.

The Animal Welfare Act (2006) makes it an imprisonable criminal offence to cause unnecessary suffering to captive or domestic animals, and specifically prohibits setting off fireworks ‘near’ fields or buildings containing livestock. ‘Near’ is not defined but given that most damage is done by sudden loud sounds probably should be defined in terms of effect rather than meters.

Horses in particular are prone to be panicked by sudden very loud noises and may bolt or injure themselves or others. This could constitute criminal damage.

Modern fireworks can be spectacular and have a celebratory feel – and they can also be made much less destructive with reduced noise levels.

If you are planning a firework display this autumn please try to minimise the damage you may cause by:

  • Choosing quieter versions of fireworks – at least avoid any boasting a ‘loud report’
  • WARNING all of your neighbours of what is about to happen so that they can take any necessary steps to protect their pets or livestock.

If you have vulnerable animals do make sure that they are secure at this time and if serious damage or trauma is caused get veterinary evidence straight away – You may have recourse to the law.