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Veterinarians support a ban on fireworks

Veterinarians support a ban on fireworks


The New Zealand Veterinary Association supports calls by Auckland City Councillors to lobby the government to ban the private sale and use of fireworks nationally.

New Zealand Veterinary Association Chief Veterinary Officer Helen Beattie says a ban would improve the welfare of animals.

"While we understand that many people enjoy fireworks displays, it is the role of veterinarians to advocate for what is right and good for animals in New Zealand. Animal welfare must always come first, and in this instance, despite human enjoyment, fireworks do not bring a welfare benefit to animals."

Dr Beattie says that every year veterinary clinics see injured and traumatised animals as a result of fireworks.

"Injuries from fireworks happen every year and they can be horrific. Veterinarians see animals that, as a result of their fear and panic, have escaped from their homes or paddocks and put themselves in danger’s way."

"Animals also experience anxiety and stress so the psychological harm is a significant component of their compromised welfare. New Zealand has led the world in acknowledging that animals are sentient in its Animal Welfare Act. We have a responsibility to ensure that we protect the psychological welfare of animals."

Unfortunately, this is not an issue that is limited to Guy Fawkes Night as people buy and store fireworks for use at other times so the NZVA is pleased to see support for a ban throughout the year - not just in November.

"Veterinarians see animals with fireworks-related trauma year-round. This makes it even more difficult to manage and protect our more stressed and anxious pets. We do not believe that those who care about the welfare of animals would find that acceptable".

A petition presented to Parliament in August 2015 showed a shift in public attitudes toward fireworks. Dr Beattie said the NZVA was disappointed that the 25,000 signature petition was rejected by Parliament and will continue to push for a ban. She hopes that changing public attitudes, in support of animals, will help achieve a ban on the personal use of fireworks.

"We encourage the public to continue to speak up on this issue and speak loudly for those who cannot speak themselves - animals. We applaud the efforts of councillors and others to bring this matter to the table again and will support their initiatives."

"The use of private fireworks has been banned in Australia for many years and New Zealand needs to do the same."

ENDS


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