Animal Rights Group Urges End to Backyard Displays That Terrify Animals
Wellington – Ahead of Guy Fawkes Night (5 November), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has written a letter to Minister for the Environment David Parker asking that he heed the concerns of the thousands of Kiwis who have long been demanding a nationwide ban on the sale of fireworks to the public.
In the letter, PETA points out that explosives detonated in suburban backyards terrify wild animals and companion animals. Native birds may fly into objects or abandon their nests and young, while dogs and cats can panic and try to run away from their homes, sometimes jumping over fences or through glass windows in order to get away from the terrifying sounds.
“As a result of noisy fireworks, many companion animals flee their homes and arrive at rescue centres with bloody paws and broken bones. Some are never reunited with their families,” says PETA Senior Outreach and Partnerships Manager Emily Rice. “Others are doomed to an even worse fate when they run onto roads, putting themselves and humans at risk.”
The group notes that fireworks displays often result in fires. During last year’s Guy Fawkes Night displays – described by Jacinda Ardern as sounding “like a war zone” – firefighters were dispatched to more than 50 fireworks-related blazes across the country, including large ones in Auckland’s Mount Wellington and Mount Eden neighbourhoods and a Wellington scrub fire that blanketed the suburb of Newtown in thick smoke.
In the letter, PETA urges the government not only to ban the sale of fireworks but also to “make the transition to expertly managed public events using silent fireworks in order to protect animals, noise-sensitive children, elderly people, and individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder”.
PETA – which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview – notes that animals on farms and in zoos may also suffer from high levels of stress as a result of noisy fireworks. Auckland Zoo called for an end to private fireworks displays after the death of a wallaby joey who was ejected from his stressed mother’s pouch in response to explosions.