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Becky Skyrme, of animal charity Blue Cross, said: “Every year thousands of pets suffer as a result of fireworks being let off.” Research by the charity found most pets fear fireworks, with the most common reactions including shaking, panting and bolting.
Over a third of people admit they do not tell neighbours when they are going to let fireworks off, while nearly six in 10 are likely to attend an “at home” fireworks display this year.
A Change.org petition – backed by the Daily Express – calls for tighter regulation of fireworks to prevent needless suffering. It has been signed by more than a million people.
Elisa Allen, director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals UK, said: “It’s not only animals who find fireworks terrifying. People with post-traumatic stress – especially those who served in the Armed Forces – elderly people, and children who are sensitive to noise can be deeply frightened and suffer panic attacks. No firework display is worth this misery.”
Campaigners have backed calls to restrict the private use of fireworks to on or around traditional dates, such as bonfire night, new year’s eve and Diwali.
They also want the maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale slashed from 120 to 90 decibels (dB).
The threshold for pain is 120dB in children and 140dB in adults. Some illegal firecrackers have been measured at more than 150dB.
Carrie Stones, RSPCA campaigns manager, said: “We’d urge people to keep neighbours with animals, including those with livestock, informed of plans so they can reduce the stress to their animals.
“Lower-noise fireworks can make displays safer for everybody.”
Bonfire night can also put asthmatics at risk of “life threatening” attacks, charity Asthma and Lung UK has warned.
With 5.4 million living with asthma, many face the “deadly” combination of bonfire night smoke, cold air and seasonal viruses.
Emma Rubach, head of health advice at the charity, said: “If you have asthma triggered by smoke, fireworks and bonfire displays could land you in hospital.
“Smoke fumes from burning wood and fireworks can linger for hours, creating localised pollution which can cause asthma attacks.
“Or it can lead to a worsening of symptoms such as breathlessness, wheezing and coughing for those with asthma.”
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