Protect animals from fireworks

The Flemish Minister responsible for animal welfare Ben Weyts (nationalist) is to launch a campaign to make local authorities more aware of the dangers posed to animals by fireworks. Mr Weyts announced that he was to launch the campaign in response to parliamentary questions posed by Jelle Engelbosch (nationalist) and Gwenny De Vroe (liberal).

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.