null Campaign launched to change the use of fireworks

Campaign launched to change the use of fireworks

24.10.18

We've launched a campaign to restrict the private use of fireworks to certain days of the year and reduce the decibel levels.

A Change.org petition has already generated thousands of signatures since it was set up on October 16 and we're joining calls urging people to email the UK Government.

Number of calls about fireworks and animals on the rise each year

Around 40 percent of dogs are fearful of loud noises such as fireworks © RSPCA

Our figures show hundreds of calls from concerned animal lovers - about animals including tarantulas and pythons as well as dogs and horses - are made about fireworks every year to us. 

In 2011 we received 255 calls regarding fireworks, which has steadily risen to a peak of 533 in 2017. In the last five years we've received 2,300 calls about fireworks.

Our survey from February this year shows that 38 percent of dogs are fearful of loud noises, such as fireworks, meaning thousands of animals' lives are made a misery by fireworks every year.

Slow progress despite two successful petitions

Two UK Government and Parliament petitions set up by Julie Doorne from the FAB Firework Abatement campaign have quickly reached more than 100,000 signatures from people wanting to see a restriction in firework use.

In January 2018, the UK Government set up the Office for Product Safety and Standards following two Parliamentary debates, about the negative impact of fireworks. Many months on, there has been little movement on this issue.

Our campaign manager, Eloise Shavelar, said:

Clearly there is widespread public concern about this issue as can be shown by the previous petitions backed by the RSPCA.

There is current legislation in place but the RSPCA believes the Fireworks Act 2003 and the Fireworks regulation 2004 doesn't go far enough.

We want to see the UK Government take advantage of the public's feeling on this by strengthening the existing acts and restricting the use of fireworks to traditional days of the year like bonfire night.

To be clear we're not calling for a restriction to public displays but it's the unexpected noise which owners cannot plan for which we want to stop.

Pets, farm animals and wildlife are all affected by fireworks

Sadly it's not just cats and dogs and other household pets that are affected by fireworks.

Horses and farm animals can easily be frightened by loud noises and sudden flashes of bright light, which can startle them and cause them to injure themselves on fencing, equipment or, in the case of stabled or housed animals, on fixtures and fittings within their enclosures. Wildlife can also be burnt alive after making their home in bonfires.

Although it's possible to treat firework phobias in some species, such as dogs, we believe if pet owners knew when to expect fireworks, it would help them to prepare their pets so they're able to cope better.

Changes to make fireworks safer for animals

We now want to see the private use of fireworks restricted to certain days:

  • November 5
  • New Year's Eve
  • Chinese New Year
  • and Diwali.

We would also like to see the maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale reduced from 120 decibels - above the human pain threshold for noise - to 97 decibels. This is likely to further reduce the stress to animals.

Julie Doorne, who started the e-petition said:

We are disappointed that after three Government petitions, collecting over 100,000 signatures on each, and two parliamentary debates we are still waiting for the UK Government to act.

Help your pets cope with fireworks

For more information and tips about how to reduce stress in animals during fireworks season, please visit our fireworks advice page.

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