The RSPCA is urging organisers of New Year’s Eve fireworks to be “vigilant” to ensure no animals are harmed or distressed.
In 2017 the charity took more than 2,000 calls per day in December and said it wants to make sure “as few of these calls as possible” are about firework-related stress or injuries to animals.
The RSPCA has previously backed a petition calling on the government to review firework laws, which to date has been signed by more than 360,000 people. The petition was delivered to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) on 21 November ahead of the second parliamentary debate which took part on 26 November. The government said after this debate it “continues to take the enforcement of firework safety seriously” and it believes “the best way to continue to reduce any distress caused by fireworks is to work with industry, retailers and others to promote their safe and responsible use through guidance and public education and to ensure that appropriate action is taken against those who break the rules.”
More than 7,000 people have responded to the RSPCA’s own campaign to contact the OPSS directly to request a change to firework regulations and the charity said it is due to meet with relevant officials in the new year “to discuss the impact of animal welfare”.
It would like to see the maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale reduced and is urging the government to consider restricting private use of fireworks to all but certain days of the year – 5 November, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and the Hindu festival Diwali. Currently firework displays can take place on any day of the year.
MPs have demanded government take fireworks concerns ‘seriously’ in third debate since 2016
Follow the British Horse Society’s advice — from playing music to having the right insurance — so that the celebrations
RSPCA campaign manager Holly Barber said: “The RSPCA received 254 calls about fireworks in November this year and we expect more to flood in over the New Year period.
“While we understand this is a time of year for celebration, we are urging people to be considerate to the environment around them when letting off fireworks.”
The charity said organisers “can do their bit” by ensuring there are no farm animals close by or wildlife in the area and to check for animals nesting or hiding in bonfires.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.