Fireworks are a major source of distress and suffering to animals in the UK. In October 2015, we launched a petition on the official UK Government petition website calling for reform of the Fireworks Act (2004) and asking for increased restrictions on the times of the year when the general public can use fireworks https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/109702/. So far, this petition has been signed by more than 83,000 individual voters and our aim is to achieve 100,000 signatures by the 2nd April which should ensure that there will be a debate in Parliament on fireworks regulation in the UK.
In addition to the petition campaign, we administer a large Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/FireworkABatement/ with more than 18,500 members which actively campaigns for reform of the Fireworks Act (2004).
Our campaign was triggered by the increasing and indiscriminate use and abuse of fireworks throughout the year and our petition specifically calls for fireworks use to be restricted to certain specified traditional dates in the year. Our objective is to promote animal welfare and we believe that our aims and the aims of your charity coincide on this issue. The anti-social use of fireworks is now widespread and commonplace and we believe that each year there is increasing public concern about fireworks. We have examples of numerous letters in the local press complaining about the excessive use of fireworks and some local councils and councillors in both England and Scotland have called for additional restrictions or even complete bans on fireworks. We believe that this upsurge in concern about the excessive use of fireworks means that there is now a real chance that we can achieve a Parliamentary debate leading to stricter control and regulation of fireworks in 2016.
The dates we would like usage restricted to are;
- the week of the 5th November,
- New Year Eve
- Chinese New Year.
This will bring the number of days fireworks are used in a domestic back garden capacity from the current 365 to approximately 10 days per year.
We are writing to animal charities and businesses involved with animals. We think it is essential that all charities and organizations concerned with animal welfare should express a united view on this major animal welfare issue. We therefore hope you will support this campaign and will publicise our petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/109702/
We have already achieved the backing and publication of our petition on the RSPCA Face Book site with shares coming on board from the branches. The Scottish SCPCA Face Book site also publicised and backs our campaign. The MP for Crawley Henry Smith has openly backed and signed our petition. The Deputy Mayor of London Baroness Jenny Jones has also signed and tweeted about our campaign. We have had a meeting with representatives from the office of Anna Soubry MP who as the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has the remit for fireworks within her portfolio.
We feel that the animal charities of the UK joining forces with us along with businesses that revolve around animals would also demonstrate to Government that there is a broad consensus of opinion demanding fireworks reform in the UK.
Please let us know if you will be able to help us in our campaign for these important reforms to the Fireworks Regulations Act (2004). If we miss this opportunity to trigger a debate in Parliament in 2016, it may be difficult to motivate campaigners to achieve this level of dedication and commitment in future years.
We look forward to hearing from you confirming your support and hope that you will help by sharing our campaign on your Facebook, Web Pages and within your Rescue Centres. Help us to improve animal protection and animal welfare.
Jill S Cutsforth
Firework Abatement Campaign