More animals to be affected as lockdown cancels public events prompting more DIY firework displays
We fear this fireworks season could be the worst in decades for animals as more people opt for DIY displays at home due to Covid restrictions cancelling organised public events.
Our polling has revealed that 21% of UK adults plan to hold a private display at home this year and with 20% who plan to attend a private display at a friend's or family's home. This is nearly twice as many as in 2019 (11% and 12% respectively).
Every year, we receive hundreds of calls about fireworks affecting animals. Over the last four years, we've received 1,543 calls about fireworks.
This is why, in 2019, we launched our #BangOutOfOrder campaign calling for tighter controls and regulations around the sale and use of fireworks in a bid to help people and animals who suffer from fireworks phobias and noise aversion.
Lockdown could reverse peoples views to restrict fireworks to certain dates
85% of UK adults think public firework displays should be licensed, and there has been wide public support for calls for private displays to be limited to specific dates to reduce the impact on people and animals who find fireworks frightening and stressful. However, animal welfare experts fear this could go out of the window this year as lockdown prompts the cancellation of public displays and people choose to set off fireworks at home instead.
Our animal welfare expert, Dr Mark Kennedy, said:
We understand that people enjoy celebrating Bonfire Night, New Year's Eve and other key dates with fireworks and we don't want to spoil the fun. Unfortunately, lockdown measures this year mean that very few organised, public displays are likely to go ahead and we suspect this means lots of families will be choosing to have their own displays at home.
Due to the Rule of Six and the restrictions on households mixing, we fear that there will be lots of little displays taking place over weeks and weeks, spreading out fireworks noise and causing prolonged distress for animals.
We'd urge people to be considerate and keep neighbours with animals, including those with nearby horses and other livestock, informed of plans well in advance so they can make preparations to reduce the stress to their animals.
In our poll, only 49% of UK adults say they think about the impact fireworks can have on local animals but 71% agree that the noise from fireworks can negatively impact their welfare.
Read Ava's story, a dog who badly injured herself after being frightened by fireworks on an unexpected night.
"Fireworks are extremely stressful and frightening for lots of animals. But they can also cause very serious injury and even death to some. Poor Ava is an example of how frightened animals can, in their panic, make themselves very ill or hurt themselves badly.
"It can be particularly dangerous for horses and livestock who can be spooked by the loud bangs and bright flashes of light, putting them at risk of injuring themselves on fencing, farm equipment or fixtures and fittings within their housing. The British Horse Society reports 23 deaths and 166 injuries in horses due to fireworks incidents since 2010.
"Last November, our officers were called out to Bryn Celyn, in Wales, to help a horse called Harry who had been found impaled on a fence post having been spooked by fireworks and needed emergency veterinary treatment.
"Wildlife can also be seriously impacted by bonfires and fireworks. Wild animals, like hedgehogs, are at risk of being burnt alive after making their homes inside bonfires and piles of leaves, while some birds will flee their nests or whole colonies can disappear due to noise disturbance."
Support our #BangOutOfOrder campaign and send a letter to your local council to put forward changes.
Classic FM's Pet Sounds
Classic FM's Pet Sounds
We're working with Classic FM's Pet Sounds programme to help pets and their owners stay calm on Bonfire Night.
Listen to Classic FM's Pet Sounds with Bill Turnbull at 7pm on Thursday 5 November and 7pm on Saturday 7 November, when firework season is in its peak - for the most calming music.