RSPCA welcomes new fireworks report

The RSPCA welcomes the Petitions Committee’s report released today (5 November 2019) following its inquiry into the impact of fireworks.

The report concludes that the existing law is inadequate and recommends that local authorities should be empowered to limit the number of displays in their areas through a system of permits; it also recommend that the incoming government reviews noise levels of fireworks and funds an awareness campaign about the responsible use of fireworks.

The RSPCA welcomes this report but believes it could go further. The charity would like to see the public sale and use of fireworks limited to being closer to four specific celebration and festival dates.

The charity also recommends noise restriction on the maximum levels of decibels fireworks available to the public can reach and that public fireworks displays should be licenced and advertised in advance.

Figures from the RSPCA show hundreds of calls from concerned animal livers – about animals including alpacas and an African grey parrot, as well as dogs and horses – are made about fireworks every year to the charity.

Since 2014 the charity has received 2,285 calls about fireworks, with 411 of these calls last year alone.

RSPCA government relations manager, Claire McParland, said: “We welcome the recommendations from the Petitions Committee which is demanding action against irresponsible fireworks use. We have long been campaigning for changes to the sale and use of fireworks and to raise awareness about the impact of fireworks can have on animal welfare, so we welcome this report which is calling for change.

“We would however, like to see more regulation so that there is tighter restriction on the sale of fireworks to the public and on the use of fireworks, alongside a campaign that raises awareness of the impact of fireworks on all animals – pets, farm animals, horses and wildlife, and educated people about available treatment for fireworks phobia in some species.

“We see the impact of fireworks on animals every year and with more than 750,000 people signing petitions to restrict their use in recent years, we know there is strong public feeling surrounding the issue of fireworks.”

An RSPCA survey carried out last month found that 62% of dog owners polled said their animals showed signs of distress during the fireworks season, and 54% of cat owners also reported their animals were showing signs of distress.

Of all people polled, 76% agree 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.

We would encourage people to go to an advertised, organised firework event as pet owners are more likely to know these are happening so can prepare their animals ahead of the event and attending these organised events also reduced the overall number of fireworks that disturb animals.