BAAANG!!!! It’s that time of the year again when the nation collectively says, “Remember, remember the 5 of November”. At Temple we like to celebrate and have fun, but we also love to promote sustainable behaviours and care deeply for vulnerable people and animals. Fireworks are a cause for concern for various reasons, not least because of child and adult safety, particulate and dioxin air pollution emissions and WHIZZ POPPING CRACKLE NOISES!
Research indicates that some animals can become acutely stressed by loud impulsive sounds. Many animals such as dogs have a different frequency hearing range to us. Pet owners know that this can be a particularly difficult time of the year, but it’s not just domestic animals that are affected; birds, horses, livestock and other wildlife can be startled by such sights and sounds.
Submissions to the UK Government in 2019 by the British Horse Society (BHS), disclosed that in the previous 9 years, 272 firework related incidents were reported, resulting in 98 equine injuries and 20 horse fatalities. Pet, livestock and animal owners go to great lengths to get their animals, homes and shelters ready for Guy Fawkes’ Night and other festive seasons. So how can we also help them?
Here are some great ways you can make your bonfire night a more sustainable, neighbour, animal and planet friendly evening.
- Our main recommendation is, go to a local organised public event, and if possible, walk or cycle to it. Reducing the number of smaller household parties and bonfires will lower emissions and reduce risks to people, animals and our environment.
- If you really want to have fireworks at home then look at purchasing low and reduced noise fireworks. Also note that white coloured fireworks are likely to have fewer harmful chemicals within them.
- Let your surrounding neighbours know that you intend to release fireworks and give them reasonable notice stating the date, time and duration. This is especially the case for those who are elderly, families with young children and/or pets. Be mindful of people who may experience sensory sensitivities, for example, those managing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or perhaps a neuro diverse child who finds loud noises distressing.
- Never release sky lanterns; you have no control over where they land, materials such as metal wiring have resulted in animals becoming trapped or have at times even ended up in animal feed.
- If you really must have a bonfire, then burn only natural materials. Build your bonfire on the day you intend to light it. Check for small mammals such as hedgehogs, not only within the bonfire stack but also around the surrounding areas including under foliage and wood piles. If you find animals that are preparing to hibernate, don’t move or disturb them, rather, you may need to move your bonfire or change your arrangements.
- Finally, after your display, don’t forget to tidy up, clear up firework fall-out and dispose of it safely.
Over the coming festive seasons and events, everyone should have fun and stay safe, but don’t forget to think of the needs of others, our environment and the animals who we care for.