While fireworks are fun for some, they create stress, financial costs and heartache for others. In rural areas many are bracing themselves for the fear and injury caused by unthinking neighbours. A group of horse owners in Rodney who have suffered loss and injury of animals are campaigning for greater care from those in or near rural areas this year, and have created a database for animal owners to log fireworks related incidents and costs.
Each year pets go missing or are injured in fireworks related incidents; in rural areas horses and stock are added to those injured and even killed. Unlike dogs or cats, horses and other livestock can't be brought indoors, and even a stabled horse can injure itself in panic. It is vital that people in lifestyle areas notify their neighbours if they intend to use fireworks, and be prepared to accept the costs if they cause damage or injury.
This time of year is when foals are being born, and young animals and pregnant mares are particularly sensitive to loud noises. “Some people seem to think that being in a rural area they don't need to worry about what they do on their property, but they forget that they may be affecting their neighbours whose stock are either their pets or their livelihood.“ says Vivien Dostine, President of recreational riders group NZ Horse.
The group are also campaigning for more sensible rules for pyrotechnics displays. The displays, and the testing and training events have caused particular problems for stock in rural Rodney. Unlike retail fireworks, these very loud explosives can cause problems over 2kms away.
Rodney horse owner, Alice Hayward's horse was killed during a commercial pyrotechnics display held nearby. “We don't want to stop people's fun, but asking for people to think about the effects on neighbours and their livestock” says Alice. “Our animals can not speak, but I hope my horse's tragic death will be a voice for other animals"
Key messages this fireworks season from the group are:
- be aware of the potential heartache, and financial costs you can cause your neighbours.
- If you are having a fireworks party, make sure you notify your neighbours.
- Aim all aerial fireworks over your own property, not into your neighbours.
- Don't use loud aerial fireworks close to stock, consider having a small bonfire instead, or go to a public display for a safe night out.
- Keep all pets indoors and follow tips from the SPCA to help your pets cope with the worst nights of fireworks noise.
Animal owners can log any incidents of injury or death (or costs associated with fireworks) at Ban the Boom