RSPCA reveals ‘hotspots’ for fireworks calls ahead of bonfire night

Fireworks warning
Fireworks warning

The RSPCA receives hundreds of calls every year from pet owners worried about fireworks – and now the charity is calling for restrictions to fireworks ahead of November 5.

In 2013 the RSPCA received 367 calls regarding fireworks, which has steadily risen to a peak of 501 in 2017 - over the last five years this amounts to more than 2,000 calls.  

The charities most up to date stats dating from 2013 to October 1 2018 show that people from Greater London make the most calls about fireworks (a total of 183), followed by Greater Manchester (140) and then the West Midlands (131). South Yorkshire came in fifth place with 87 calls, behind West Yorkshire with 114 calls.

The RSPCA now wants to see the private use of fireworks restricted to certain days; November 5, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali, as new studies show 38 per cent of dogs feel fear at loud noises including fireworks.

The charity would also like to see the maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale reduced from 120 decibels - above the human pain threshold for noise - to 97 decibels. This is likely to further reduce the stress to animals.

In January 2018, the UK government set up the Office for Product Safety and Standards following two Parliamentary debates, about the negative impact of fireworks, many months on, there has been little movement on this issue.  

A petition, set up by Julie Doorne from the FAB Firework Abatement Campaign has already generated tens of thousands of signatures since it was set up on October 16 and the RSPCA is joining calls urging people to email the UK Government.

RSPCA campaign manager Eloise Shavelar said: “Clearly there is widespread public concern about this issue as can be shown by the previous petitions backed by the RSPCA.

“There is current legislation in place but the RSPCA believes the Fireworks Act 2003 and the Fireworks regulation 2004 doesn’t go far enough.

“We want to see the UK Government take advantage of the public’s feeling on this by strengthening the existing acts and restricting the use of fireworks to traditional days of the year like bonfire night.

“To be clear we are not calling for a restriction to public displays but it is the unexpected noise which owners cannot plan for which we want to stop.”

Sadly it is not just cats and dogs and other 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, equipment or, in the case of stabled or housed animals, on fixtures and fittings within their enclosures. Wildlife can also be burnt alive after making their home in bonfires.

Julie Doorne, who started the e-petition said: “We are disappointed that after three Government petitions, collecting over 100,000 signatures on each, and two parliamentary debates we are still waiting for the UK Government to act."

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