Ban private firework displays, say horse owners

  • Horse owners are campaigning against the private use of fireworks, which they say seem to have been going on longer and causing more problems than usual this year.

    More than 25,000 people in the UK have signed a petition to stop the sale of fireworks to private individuals.

    The British Horse Society (BHS) told H&H that 10 incidents relating to fireworks have already been reported this year — none fatal. There were 13 reports in 2013.

    On 1 November a police horse bolted around east London after a firework was let off nearby. The officer is thought to have fallen off when the horse was spooked.

    “This is just another reason to ban over-the-counter fireworks,” commented H&H Facebook fan Sophie Pettit.

    “I think the sale of fireworks should be banned, only specialist companies should obtain them for an organised display,” added Susan Clacker.

    H&H reader Natasha Risby said: “It astounds me that we can walk into a shop and buy a box full of explosives which cause so much stress and upset to animals.”

    Julie Doorne, spokesman for Fireworks — CAPS (Fireworks — Campaign Against Public Sales) from Lincolnshire, relaunched an existing E-Government petition after hearing so many terrible stories on Facebook, including a shocking picture of a horse with serious burns. The original had 1,200 signatures. Within two days this had risen to 22,000 (7-9 November).

    “This has been the worst year I can remember and fireworks have been going off for weeks and weeks with no consideration for fire hazards, anyone’s personal safety or emotional welfare,” she said.

    The group has received huge support from people all over the world calling for the unregulated sale of fireworks to the public to stop.

    Many have called for a law similar to that in Australia, where private displays have to be licensed and managed.

    However, Lee Hackett from the BHS told H&H that “having explored the possibility previously” the organisation has been “led to believe that the banning of fireworks from public sale is extremely unlikely.”

    He added: “We need to focus our efforts on the responsible use of fireworks and assisting owners during firework season.

    “Of course there will always be occasions where people behave irresponsibly and it is hard to legislate for this. As with any potential change in legislation, evidence is essential and that is why it is
    so important to report all incidents to the horse accidents website. Without data we cannot bring change.”

    View the fireworks petition 

    Report an incident

    This news story was originally published in H&H magazine on Thursday 20 November, 2014

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