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SPCA calls for ban on Guy Fawkes

Friday, 11 November, 2011

In light of death, injury and distress of animals again this Guy Fawkes, SPCA New Zealand is calling for Government to institute a complete ban on fireworks for personal use in line with Australian public policy.

The reduction of days of sale has failed to save the animals that are affected each year and SPCAs throughout New Zealand have seen an increase in pets straying. Flight due to fear of fireworks invariably results in harm to animals and distress to owners.

"We are asking for the celebration to be restricted to public fireworks displays," says Robyn Kippenberger, SPCA National Chief Executive.

"We also ask for mandatory consultation to occur for the sensible placement of public displays to ensure that horses and stock are not affected and for advance notice to residents adjacent to them."

While animal owners are advised to take special precautions to protect their pets over the Guy Fawkes season, responsible owners cannot be expected to keep animals confined indefinitely. This year the SPCA was made aware of distressed and lost animals with fireworks starting well before the date of first sale, indicating that people had stockpiled from last year. Reports from across the country suggest that use has continued every night since then and, with 1135 tonnes of fireworks imported this year, continued use is expected.

The death of a dog in the Manawatu that jumped through a closed window has been attributed to fear from fireworks.

"Surely injury and death of animals cannot be an 'acceptable' result for a celebration that is not part of our history or culture. Guy Fawkes fireworks cause millions of dollars of damage to people, property and pets every year – damage that is totally avoidable," Ms Kippenberger says.

"A Facebook survey showed 60% of the public would like to see personal sales banned and other media have reported between 67% and 53% supporting public displays only. The SPCA believes there is majority support for a total ban of fireworks for personal use and we are calling on Government to take a tough stand," she says.