Make fireworks less frightening for animals

Hundreds of calls are made about fireworks and animals every year.

We’re not asking for a total ban on fireworks, but believe that regulations should be changed to protect animal welfare. Over the past five years we've seen an increase of over 100 percent in the number of calls, from 255 in 2011 to 533 in 2017.

Pets, farm animals and wildlife can all be affected by fireworks 

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

Around 40 percent of dogs are fearful of loud noises such as fireworks, which alone means thousands of animals are affected by unplanned and random fireworks each year. 

Sadly it's not just household pets that are affected by fireworks. Farm animals are easily frightened by loud noises and sudden flashes of bright light, which can startle and cause them to injure themselves on fencing and farm equipment.

Wildlife, like hedgehogs, are also at risk of being burnt alive after making their homes in bonfires.

Changing firework regulations to help animals

We’re calling on the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) to urgently review firework regulations. Stronger regulations such as restricting them to certain dates and only selling private use fireworks that have a maximum noise level of 97 decibels could minimise distress to animals.

Fireworks are allowed to be 120 decibels, which is equivalent to a jet aircraft taking off. We want this reduced to 97 decibels, which is equivalent to a car door slamming, and only allowing anything above at public displays.

Email the UK Government now to act

Our wish list of firework regulation changes

Restrict private use to traditional date

Restrict the private use of fireworks to agreed traditional dates such as those included in the existing Regulations (i.e. November 5th, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali). These dates are already recognised as being exceptional in the Regulations and we believe that the existing prohibition on sales at all other times could and should be extended to include use as well.

Reduce maximum permitted decibels for private use

We would like to see the maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale reduced to 97 decibels. Noise level studies have indicated that this level – equivalent to a car door slamming – is likely to minimise distress to animals.

The current allowed level, 120 decibels, is equivalent to a jet aircraft taking off.  Fireworks above 97 decibels should only be used at licensed public displays.

All public firework displays to be licensed

We believe all public fireworks displays need to be licensed by the relevant licensing authority. Information about the proposed display must be provided in the local area and a process for local residents to appeal against the granting of the licence.

This process should also apply to people seeking to hold private displays at special events such as weddings.

Private fireworks boxes to be labelled

We would also like to see fireworks labelled as ‘loud’ or ‘low noise’ to allow consumers to make an informed decision if they do buy fireworks.

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