Vets back SSPCA’s call for regulation on fireworks

Tighter restrictions on the use and sale of fireworks are backed by 90 per cent of vets, according to new SSPCA research. Picture: Jane Barlow
Tighter restrictions on the use and sale of fireworks are backed by 90 per cent of vets, according to new SSPCA research. Picture: Jane Barlow
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THE Scottish SPCA today released new research which shows 90 per cent of vets in Scotland support the charity’s call for tighter restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks which can terrify thousands of animals each year.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity polled more than 140 veterinary practices in Scotland earlier this year And the response was overwhelmingly in favour of increased regulation.

The survey also revealed vets dealt with a staggering 2,546 fireworks related incidents last year with 1,334 animals requiring treatment, including 859 distressed pets which had to be sedated.

The SSPCA is calling for fireworks sales to be restricted to the week preceding 5 November. The charity is also calling for the unlicensed use of fireworks by members of the public to be limited to defined festival periods, rather than all year round.

Mike Flynn, the SSPCA’s Chief Superintendent, said: “Current regulations are so relaxed that fireworks can be set off on any given day and for weeks and months on end rather than being limited to the major festival periods.

“This leaves pet owners and farmers unable to make adequate provisions for their animals.”

He continued: “It’s not surprising that vets are supportive of our calls for tighter restrictions given the sheer volume of animals they are treating for fireworks related fear and our survey is really only the tip of the

iceberg.

“We’ve been made aware of numerous incidents over the years where animals have come to serious harm and even death as a result of fireworks being set off near them.”

Chief Supt Flynn explained: “Animals will panic and flee at the sound of the bang and this can result in road traffic accidents. We’ve received reports of wild swans flying into electricity pylons and horses being badly injured after running through barbed wire fences.

“We’re also aware of incidents where farm animals have aborted their young soon after nearby firework displays.”

He said: “The current legal noise limit for a firework is 120 decibels. To put this into perspective, a pneumatic drill measures around 100 decibels and people are advised to wear ear protectors when exposed to anything above 80 decibels.

“Animals have heighted senses and their hearing is much stronger than ours. A dog’s hearing is twice as sensitive as a human’s and a cat’s three times. “The bang from a firework is terrifying to an animal and can cause extreme distress.”

Chief Supt Flynn added: “The legislation should reflect the serious impact that fireworks can have on the welfare of domestic, farm and wild animals and currently it does not.”

Am SSPCA spokeswoman explained: “At present, fireworks can be used in public on any day of the year between the hours of 7am and 11pm, with the laws further relaxed around major occasions such as 5 November, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali. They can be sold from 15 October to 10 November, from 26 to 31 December and on the days of Chinese New Year and Diwali and the three preceding days.”