As Bonfire Night approaches welfare societies warn about the frightening effects of fireworks on animals

The British Horse Society, the Blue Cross and the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association have all issued warnings about the effects that fireworks can have on animals.

Last year two horses died, and another was seriously injured as a result of a private fireworks party. The horses were out in a field next to where the display was being held. Two of them collapsed and died due to stress and exhaustion, while the third ran into a telegraph pole and suffered horrendous injuries.

The BHS is calling for anyone who is holding a fireworks display to contact the owners of horses, which are kept nearby so they can take appropriate action.

Kerstin Alford, BHS head of welfare, said: “Anyone holding a firework display has a duty of care to the public, and this should include their animals. Ideally firework displays should take place well away from horses as they are easily alarmed and could be terrified by the noise and explosions of light.

The BHS advises owners who keep their horses close to the site of a major fireworks display to try and move them away from the area if possible. “Owners may want to move their horses to a livery yard overnight, if they are worried,” said BHS spokesperson Nichola Gregory. “If moving the horse is not possible then providing extra hay or leave the radio on overnight to try and keep the horse occupied.”

Horses are not the only animals at risk, however. Dogs and other pets are also likely to become terrified by the noise.

Gwen Bailey, head of animal behaviour sciences at the Blue Cross says: “Fireworks can cause real problems for animals. Many suffer severe distress on 5 November and during the weeks leading up to it. The trauma can have long term effects and these problems are serious and widespread.”