Charity and vet organisations join forces to call for change on firework law

  • Leading charities and veterinary organisations have written an open letter urging the Government to review firework legislation.

    The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Blue Cross are among the 11 bodies that have put their names to the letter, which was sent to the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy.

    The letter highlights how easy it is to buy fireworks, the serious animal welfare concerns associated with pyrotechnics and the detrimental impact they can have. Its signatories include Help for Heroes director Beth Miles, Combat Stress chief executive Jeff Harrison, chief executive and founder of PTSD UK Jacqui Suttie, along with representatives of burns charities, The Kennel Club and animal charities.

    “Although there have been several Government awareness campaigns around fireworks, there has been no legislative commitment to a review of fireworks and their impact on people and animal welfare,” states the letter.

    It references the tightened restrictions in Scotland (news, 14 July) and urges the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to “follow suit”.

    The new Scottish laws mean fireworks can only be supplied to, and used by, members of the public on certain dates, and grant local authorities power to set up firework control zones.

    H&H has contacted both the department and the secretary of state, Grant Shapps, for comment.

    Becky Thwaites, head of public affairs at national pet charity Blue Cross who has signed the letter, told H&H that easy access to fireworks and poor enforcement of existing legislation means animals “continue to suffer”.

    “It is clear that a large number of companion animals of all species find fireworks extremely distressing, and they can have a severe impact on their health and welfare and lead to many animals being injured or even killed,” she said.

    “That is why Blue Cross, along with other animal welfare organisations, is calling for the Government to conduct a review of the existing fireworks legislation.

    “We would welcome measures such as restrictions on the periods when fireworks can be sold and used for private purposes.

    “[We would also welcome] a reduction in the maximum decibel level of fireworks for public sale to 97 decibels, and powers to impose firework-free zones, as in Scotland, particularly around specific locations such as animal shelters, hospitals, and rehoming centres.”

    The letter was released in the same week the RSPCA voiced concerns over the knock-on effect cancellations of major displays could have, with worries it could lead to an increase in at-home fireworks.

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