Fireworks are widely used by everyone, especially for events such as Burns Night, New Years Eve etc. They are beautiful and colourful; however, they have many negative effects.

When they burst into their colourful light, chemical debris is scattered on the ground. A chemical called perchlorate are found in the fireworks and these can dissolve in water, contaminating rivers, lakes and drinking water. And of course, they release a cloud of smoke affecting the local air quality.

Whilst fireworks may be beautiful to humans, they can be traumatising to animals. It not only causes them psychological distress but can also cause injuries and, in some cases, death. Animals such as dogs, horses and livestock are affected by fireworks. Pet owners can struggle to calm and protect their animals especially from the fireworks set off by those nearby with no warning.

Animal charities such as the RSPCA and Blue Cross find it extremely difficult during firework season as they have a huge number of animals to support. Although you can keep pets like dogs inside your home, larger animals like horses, prove to be more difficult. For example, Redwings Horse Sanctuary is the largest horse welfare charity in the UK, caring for more than 1500 rescued horses. This means they will find this time of year extremely stressful and need as much support as possible.  

This year they posted a video on their website showing just how distressed their horses were with the incredibly close fireworks going on. They also mentioned how in recent years, they have tragically lost 3 of their horses due to firework-related incidents.

Lynn Cutress, Chief Executive said, “We are grateful to our neighbours who let us know about firework displays nearby but as you can see from this footage, which clearly shows the distress caused to our horses from firework displays last night, it isn’t enough.” 

Fireworks should only be let off as part of a display, as they are contained and advertised to let people know the date, time and location in advance, instead of being surprised by their neighbour setting off fireworks two doors down. 

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 states it is an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to any captive or domestic animal. Fireworks must not be set off near livestock or horse in fields or close to buildings housing horses or livestock. Anyone planning a firework display in a rural area must warn neighbouring farmers in advance. However, only a minority oblige to this law, whilst the majority carelessly set them off whenever and wherever they like without any consequences. Therefore, the law is not enforced enough and that needs to change.

Fireworks can also affect people who suffer from epilepsy, PTSD, autism etc, or even just those who don’t like loud noises. Therefore, to prevent more harm to the environment, animals and people, it is better to have only firework displays, so everyone is protected whilst also allowing others to enjoy the show.