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Back to Stephen Brookes Column Index



Fireworks are Crackers

By: Stephen Brookes MBE

Did you know that last year, six guide dogs had to be retired (at a cost of 35,000 each) due to firework trauma.

Hopefully though, pets (and people) should now be protected from the year-round distress of fireworks thanks to a new Fireworks Act.

Under the new law, fireworks will be controlled by restricting their sale and use to certain times of the day and year, and public firework displays will be licensed.

In a recent MORI poll, 71 per cent of people surveyed agreed that loud fireworks should only be sold for use at public displays.

The news of the new bill has been warmly welcomed by the Animal Welfare Fireworks Coalition - the RSPCA is a member - which supported the bill as it progressed through parliament.

However it believes it is essential the government now ensures regulations introduced under the bill are strong enough to deliver what the public expects.

A spokesman for the Coalition said it was "an historic opportunity to prevent the widespread suffering of thousands of animals".

"We hope that as a result of this new law and subsequent regulations, thousands of people around the UK, their pets and working dogs will have an improved quality of life."

The Coalition will now press the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Health and Safety Executive to look closely at how further changes might be made to reduce the impact of noisy fireworks on pets, such as setting a maximum noise level. This follows a commitment by the DTI minister during the committee stage of the bill.

Thousands of animals are sedated, bolt from firework noise and are victims of traffic accidents every year.

When the law becomes fact it will be celebrated - quietly.

© Steve Brookes MBE
Copyright © - Stephen Brookes MBE 2002-2003 - All rights reserved


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