Vets raise concerns about loopholes in fireworks bill

The BVA has welcomed a bill to control fireworks and pyrotechnics in Scotland – but is worried the measures are not strong enough to adequately safeguard animal health and welfare.

The Scottish Government’s Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles (Scotland) Bill has been before parliamentary debate, and includes the introduction of a fireworks licensing system for anyone wanting to buy and use fireworks. It also designates fireworks control zones, and has measures to stop under-18s getting hold of fireworks and pyrotechnics.

But the BVA said while it welcomed the bill, it was concerned that it did not go far enough to safeguard animal health and welfare, which would suffer during fireworks displays in the designated zones.

Loopholes

Malcolm Morley, BVA junior vice-president, said: “Loud and high-pitched fireworks can cause extreme stress and upset for many species of animal, as well as having the potential to cause pain and injury if an animal becomes panicked, or a firework gets out of control.

“These measures are, therefore, a very welcome step in the right direction. It is vital that the Scottish Government now makes sure there is adequate resources and guidance in place to ensure these new important rules can be properly enforced.

“We remain concerned about loopholes left by exemptions for public displays to continue to take place in designated ‘firework control zones’, and the lack of licensing requirements for public displays and organized events. These loopholes have the potential to be exploited and may mean that these displays still have the potential to cause stress, harm and potential injury for animals nearby.”

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