Summer must really be over. The day the last one of my children goes back to school, I attend a meeting of the Pet Advisory Committee (PAC) where fireworks are on the agenda!
It may seem ridiculously early, but it’s not just a one-day festival any more and as soon as the evenings start to draw in, the fireworks come out!
Basically, the animal welfare organisations involved in PAC are keen to see if the Fireworks Act, introduced in 2003, is being enforced and, principally, whether fireworks are causing any infringement of Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act which makes it an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animals. If it isn’t being enforced, or if the law is not effective, PAC will lobby Government to try to get things improved.
What they’re after is any examples and anecdotes about animals being frightened – this isn’t just about them disliking fireworks themselves (and we’ll include some firework tips as the season gets closer) but particularly if there are problems where the legislation is not being enforced – where fireworks have caused an animal to suffer when they have been used in the prohibited times between 11pm – 7am (or after midnight on Bonfire Night or 1am for Diwali, New Year or Chinese New Year), or are being set off in the street, or by under 18s in a public place. Equally, without wishing to be a killjoy, does the law as it stands offer enough protection?
Details of the law is on the BERR website - send in any comments through the contact facility on this website and I’ll pass them on – the site also gives details of the officials to contact if there are problems you want dealt with there and then.
The thought of fireworks is enough to fill my cat Christie with dread – he’s still recovering from the recent thunderstorms, having had to be prised from behind my next-door-neighbour’s sofa and handed back home! (Christie has no concept of our house and next door being separate entities and despite their two cats, treats their house as his home too!)