Many of us enjoy firework displays as we bring in the new year. However, the firework fun can be a headache for farmers and those that keep animals as pets.
Many animals become startled by the noise produced when fireworks go off. There are also reports of animals dying as a result of the stress they suffer during the New Year celebrations. Horses are especially sensitive to loud firework noise nuisance.
Some animal-lovers have even set up a Facebook group calling for action to be taken. Last weekend in Nijlen (Antwerp province) a march was held for a horse that had died of fear as a result of fireworks.
Mr Weyts says that he understands the concerns of animal-lovers. “It has been scientifically proved that loud bangs and flashes of bright are harmful to animals”, Mr Weyts said.
However, there will not be a blanket ban on fireworks. Instead the Minister intends to launch a campaign to make local authorities more aware of the issues surrounding fireworks and animals.
Local authorities have the power to ring in by-laws banning the use of fireworks in certain areas of making people let off their fireworks in a single designated area. Mr Weyts also intends to provide information and tips to the animals-lovers on how better to protect their animals from the dangers posed by fireworks.