The RSPCA is advising horse owners to check for local fireworks displays as New Year approaches.
The charity receives hundreds of calls each year about problems caused by fireworks, and released a report in October highlighting the distress they can cause to animals.
It said it would like to see further limitations on the public use and sale of fireworks and called for displays to be limited to specific celebrations around November 5, Chinese New Year, Diwali and New Year’s Eve.
It is also urging for a maximum-decibel noise restriction on fireworks and for public displays to be licensed and advertised in advance.
Equine welfare specialist Dr Mark Kennedy said: “We know from looking at our call figures that this is a topic of real concern among animal owners.
“For horse owners in particular our advice would be to check for any firework displays planned locally and ask organisers to site fireworks well away from your horse and aimed in the opposite direction.
“If your horse is staying in their field, check the fencing is secure and there are no dangerous objects they could collide with if startled. If stabled, ensure hay nets are secure so your horse can’t get caught up.”
He added that you should stay with your horse if you know fireworks are going to be set off, but do be aware of your own safety – “a startled horse can be dangerous,” he said.
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Dr Kennedy also noted that the RSPCA believed that if animal owners knew when to expect fireworks, it would help them to prepare their animals so they would be better able to cope.
An RSPCA survey conducted in October revealed that 76% agreed with the RSPCA’s policy that fireworks should be restricted to traditional dates and 85% said they thought public firework displays should be licensed and advertised before taking place.
More information and resources about how to reduce stress in animals during fireworks are available at: www.rspca.org.uk/fireworks
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