Fireworks are a universal symbol of celebration. The UK season started off with a bang with the five-day long celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights and now Guy Fawkes Night is upon us this weekend.
And of course the aesthetic explosives will also be used to ring in the new year, but fireworks aren’t for everyone.
Those enjoying celebrations perceive them to be harmless but pet owners and others would argue differently.
Fireworks can inflict damage on both people and animals, not to mention the pollution to the air we have to breathe the day after.
Laser lights and glow sticks
Little brings family, friends and communities together like a big council funded firework display at your local recreation ground. But this year Hammersmith and Fulham Council has cancelled their fireworks display promising to be back next year with a more environmentally friendly laser show.
For this year they are encouraging residents who plan their own displays to do so in line with the London Fire Brigade’s safety recommendations and to do so “safety and courteously to your neighbours”.
As an alternative they suggest decorating your home with glow sticks.
For those with a go-big-or-go-home attitude to do-it-yourself displays there is a warning in some sobering statistics.
According to gov.uk’s fireworks safety manual, alcohol is present at 90% of firework parties in back gardens and 84% of respondents said that people setting off their fireworks had consumed at least 2-3 units of alcohol.
This means that the majority of people would be able to drive home after celebrations have concluded but it still leaves 16% unaccounted for.
Especially whilst under the influence, judgement is impaired and reaction times are significantly slower. Fireworks can be deadly if caution is not taken.
Now the physical and human element has been discussed, it is time to consider that watching vibrant colours exploding in the sky is not worth causing a single animal distress.
Moving away from tradition and abandoning or limiting a celebration tool that does more harm than good is the direction we should be headed in.
According to PDSA’s 2018 PAW Report 83% of veterinary professionals agree that fireworks should be regulated to allow use only for licensed events or on certain dates.
We will undoubtedly see more fireworks over the coming months, but let’s have a mature debate and look seriously at alternatives.
Celebrations of this nature and pets living can comfortably co-exist and then we could all breathe a sigh of clean-aired relief.