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SPCA Calls On Public To Ditch Fireworks This Guy Fawkes

After years of inaction from lawmakers to ban the private sale and use of fireworks, SPCA is calling on New Zealanders to take a stand for animal welfare by refusing to purchase and light fireworks this Guy Fawkes.

Every year, SPCA receives dozens of welfare calls relating to animals that have been negatively impacted by the use of fireworks including injuries, frightened animals, pets that have run away in distress, and occasionally, deliberate abuse of animals with fireworks.

SPCA Chief Executive Todd Westwood says it’s time the private sale and use of fireworks was banned in order to protect New Zealand’s animals.

“Despite huge public support, the Government has failed year after year to address this issue, so now we’re asking New Zealanders to take a stand for animals so that they don’t suffer this fireworks season,” says Mr Westwood.

“Many pet owners will know just how distressing fireworks can be for their animals, so please think twice before letting off fireworks in your backyard this Guy Fawkes. The potential harm caused to animals is just not worth it for a few minutes of enjoyment by people.”

SPCA Scientific Officer Dr Alison Vaughan says the loud noises and bright flashes from fireworks can cause severe distress among household pets, farmed animals and even wildlife such as our native birds, who are often nesting during Guy Fawkes.

“Research shows that fireworks can have both short and long-term impacts on bird populations, from the initial panic causing birds to flee an area or even death, to long term impacts on breeding success,” says Dr Vaughan.

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“A survey of horse guardians in New Zealand also found that 35% of respondents reported having horses break through a fence in response to fireworks, and more than a quarter of respondents reported horses sustaining injuries.”

SPCA has long advocated for a ban on the private sale and use of fireworks, but unfortunately, despite huge support from New Zealanders and other organisations, a ban is yet to be put in place. A huge part of the issue is there are zero restrictions on when fireworks can be ignited.

“While members of the public are restricted to purchasing fireworks on set days, there is nothing stopping them from being set off on any day of the year – not just on Guy Fawkes – meaning pet and farmed animal owners must remain vigilant at all times,” says Dr Vaughan.

“We’re aware of some communities, such as Cambridge, that are opting for light shows instead of fireworks in order to protect their local animals, which we think is absolutely fantastic. We hope more people will jump on board and do their part to protect the health and welfare of our animals.

“If you are planning an event with fireworks, let your neighbours know so they can take steps to keep their animals safe or, even better, consider switching to an animal-friendly alternative for displays.”

SPCA’s top tips for pet and farmed animal owners:

· Never let fireworks off close to animals.

· Stay home with your pet – they will be less stressed with someone they trust close by.

· Keep them indoors – they won’t see the flashes and the bangs will be muffled. Close doors and windows and draw the curtains. Turn on your radio or TV to help drown out loud bangs with familiar sounds.

· Exercise your dog early in the day to avoid being out during dusk when fireworks could be set off. If your cat has outdoor access, bring them inside before it begins to get dark.

· Both cats and dogs should be microchipped with contact details up to date and have a collar and identification tag with your contact details on it. If your pet panics and runs away, this will help to reunite you with your pet.

· To minimise stress, keep horses and farmed animals in their familiar paddocks and with their usual companions unless a firework display is planned close by. Make sure all fences are secure and check paddocks and stables thoroughly for anything that could cause injury, such as protruding nails.

· Don’t forget small pets like rabbits, guinea pigs or chickens. Have them tucked away safely or even inside for the night.

© Scoop Media

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