With Guy Fawks Night nearly upon us, horse owners around the country are being urged to take precautions to ensure their animals remain safe.
Reports of horses being badly injured, or even killed, after being terrified by the loud sudden noises and flashing lights associated with fireworks, are common both around 5 November and throughout the year.
“There is strong circumstancial evidence to suggest that fireworks have been the cause of serious equine injuries, and even deaths,” says Wendy Peckham of the BHS.
“Cases which have been brought to our attention in recent years include a horse having to be destroyed after breaking a leg following a fireworks event, horses suffering from severe colic following a local fireworks party and a mare who had to be put down after a she broke through a fence and severed severe injuries.”
These are just a handful of the case studies which the BHS has recorded, and the society is currently receiving calls from concerned horse owners, who have suffered worrying incidents this year.
“One lady called last week to say a neighbour had let off fireworks right beside her horse’s field. Lucky her horse was not injured but, understandably, she was very annoyed.”
The ILPH is encouraging anyone who is holding an event involving fireworks to inform local horse owners, so they can act to keep their animals safe.
Tony Tyler, director of UK operations at the ILPH, says: “Most people look forward to bonfire night but for horse owners it can be a worrying time. Many horses and ponies can become stressed and upset by both the sight and sound of fireworks going off and if they are out in their fields it could have tragic consequences.”
The ILPH advises horseowners to:
- make sure they are aware of firework parties in their area
- stable their horses and ponies if there are going to be fireworks nearby
- give them plenty of hay to keep them occupied
- check on them during the evening to make sure they are okay
- leave a radio on to camoflage the noise
- check the field in the morning for any stray fireworks
- have sand and water available in case of fire
The Animal Welfare Fireworks Coalition, a group of animal welfare charities including the RSPCA and the Blue Cross, is currently campaigning for a ban on loud fireworks (over 95 decibels) at private events and plans to deliver a petition signed by nearly 75,000 people to 10 Downing Street.