The RSPCA has criticised the government for missing an opportunity to
prevent the suffering of thousands of animals due to loud fireworks. By failing
to reduce the maximum noise level of fireworks available to the public,
terrified dogs and other pets will continue to suffer stress, injury and
New firework regulations mean that from Saturday 7th August it will be illegal for
retailers to sell fireworks louder than 120dB (equivalent to a jet aircraft
taking off) to the general public. This is the same maximum noise level that
was specified in a voluntary code already in force and will mean no reduction
to the distress loud fireworks cause animals.
In its submission to a government consultation on fireworks, the RSPCA
gave examples of how the lives of thousands of animals are made a misery by
loud fireworks and many are killed and injured because they are so frightened.
The Society also outlined research carried out for its 'Quiet Please' fireworks
campaign that showed a maximum noise level of 95dB (the equivalent to a door
slamming) would make a significant difference to the welfare of animals.
The RSPCA is disappointed because the government has ignored its request
for it to be compulsory for organisers of professional firework displays (who
can continue to use fireworks louder than 120dB) to alert pet owners so they
can take steps to protect their pets.
The Society also expressed concern that the draft regulations focused on
the impact on people of anti-social behaviour involving fireworks and neglected
the plight of animals - and this continues to be the case.
In a MORI poll, 78 per cent of people agreed loud fireworks should only
be allowed at public displays. In addition, 90,000 people signed a petition in
support of quieter fireworks which was delivered to 10 Downing Street last
Steve Cheetham, the RSPCA's chief veterinary officer, said: "This
legislation does nothing to alleviate the suffering of animals and the
government has missed a great opportunity to do something about it. Its failure
to sufficiently reduce the noise level of fireworks means that thousands of
animals will continue to suffer. We have received a huge amount of support for
our campaign for quieter fireworks and there will be many disappointed pet
owners up and down the country."