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Retailers urged to stop selling fireworks by Scottish vets fearing rise in private displays

© Vets NowDogs on bonfire night
Dogs on bonfire night

Scottish vets have called on retailers to stop the sale of fireworks due to the distress they can cause to pets and wildlife.

An open letter and petition launched by Dunfermline-based Vets Now issued a plea to supermarkets and convenience stores to take immediate action to prevent animals being traumatised and injured.

It comes as the cancellation of large-scale organised events across the country due to the pandemic could cause a rise in amateur firework displays in gardens and streets.

The team at Vets Now’s Glasgow Charing Cross pet emergency hospital and at emergency clinics across Scotland are bracing themselves to be inundated with calls from worried pet owners in the run up to bonfire night.

Senior emergency vet Dave Leicester explains in his open letter to retailers:  “The dangers fireworks pose to pets, livestock and wildlife is no secret. Every year in our emergency clinics, we see the heart-breaking reality of seemingly-harmless fireworks displays — pets burnt or hit by cars after being spooked, others bolting and going missing, sometimes never to return, self-inflicted, life-changing injuries caused in a moment of panic, and, sadly, also deliberate, malicious firework injuries.

“As organised local fireworks displays are likely to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, more people will look to hold their own private displays using fireworks. This will lead to even greater risk than in previous years.”

According to a poll carried out by Vets Now of more than 3400 people, 83% of pet owners support banning the sale of fireworks for private use.

The RSPCA have estimated that 45% of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks, and with a surge in puppy ownership during this year’s lockdown, vets are also concerned that many new pet owners might not be aware their pet is scared.

Leicester added: “There is no doubt that the country deserves some joy. But the momentary lift fireworks will give us simply doesn’t compare to the misery and suffering it will cause millions of animals.

“It has been a year full of uncertainty, but this is something you have the power to control. With your support, millions of animals will be spared the avoidable trauma of unpredictable private fireworks displays. You will undoubtedly be saving lives.”


For tips on how to prepare your pet for Bonfire Night and to read the open letter visit the Vets Now fireworks advice hub