This year I was very fortunate to have three dogs who didn’t really care about the fireworks. Only once did we get any kind of obvious reaction when Radan wanted to go to the toilet so I opened the door and a very loud one went off by close by. Radan was fine, but it woke Takara. Thankfully, it didn’t upset her too much and she recovered quickly from being startled.
However, in previous years, this certainly hasn’t been the case, it’s taken a long time of working on Takara’s anxiety plus her starting to go deaf to get to this point. Bubble is deaf from birth so has never been an issue and Radan’s the sort of dude to go outside and watch them.
One of my cats did come shooting in through the cat flap, and I’ve noticed that in general, they have been out less, and Takara’s been a little more grumpy than usual, which could be a low level of stress reducing her usual tolerance of fools (which is low anyway!) but in general, this year the fireworks haven’t caused a great deal of distress in our house.
Sadly, this is not the case for many others and I’m seeing such distressing posts on social media regarding distressed pets, a horse who had to be put down after fireworks a week prior to Bonfire night panicked him, and owners feeling utterly useless because their poor dogs just can’t cope.
Of course, it’s not just pets. As someone with friends with PTSD following warzone experiences, I know that fireworks can be an absolute nightmare for war veterans, for example. I also feel for the livestock and wildlife that are exposed to these terrifying noises.
Every year, we have petitions appear asking for fireworks to be banned from public sale and use, and only allowed for organised displays, but each year this comes to nothing. I believe there are a couple of problems with this as a plan.
Firstly, the majority of the public want to be able to purchase them. Not the majority of my contacts, because my contacts are mostly dog owners, but the majority of the general public want to have access to them.
Secondly, organised displays are huge and they can use larger, louder fireworks than the public can. This year, a public space nearby held a display in a residential area, full of wildlife – a strange place for a display, I thought, but if fireworks were limited to organised displays only, would the areas in which they were held make sense?
If the general public couldn’t buy fireworks, then the organised displays would also need to accommodate more people so they would need to run over more nights.
I believe the answer lies in silent fireworks.
Collecchio, a town in Italy, passed a law in 2015, allowing only silent fireworks to be used. Whilst the damage to the environment and the danger involved is still present with these silent fireworks, the noise issue is completely resolved.
It would mean that the public could still purchase their own fireworks and enjoy them without keeping people awake, upsetting animals or people, and we wouldn’t have to go down the route of organised displays only that many people don’t like the idea of. I know I was always an odd child, but as I remember covering my ears whilst watching the fireworks at a local display, I can only imagine that there must be plenty of others, particularly children, who would prefer silent fireworks anyway!
There would still need to be rules around when they could be purchased and set off. After all, these are explosives and they are dangerous, they litter where they land, which is often nowhere near where they were set off, and I can only imagine the damage they do to the air and the environment.
It is time we moved on and embraced fireworks in a more considerate manner. Are silent fireworks the answer?