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New Zealand Home Fireworks Ban Rejected

21 August 2015

NEW ZEALAND - Veterinarians are disappointed that the 25,000 signature petition to ban the private use of fireworks has been rejected by parliament and say that it is a missed opportunity to improve animal welfare.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) says that the private use of fireworks in New Zealand is a significant animal welfare concern that causes fear, anxiety, and on occasion, serious harm to animals.

The petition, which went before the Government Administration Committee, also had the support of the SPCA, the New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Fire Service.

NZVA Companion Animal Society President Dr Brendon Bullen says that every year veterinary clinics see injured and traumatised animals because of fireworks.

“Injuries from fireworks happen every year and they can be horrific. What we see most often though is that animals are so terrified that they escape from their homes or paddocks and put themselves in danger’s way.

"They hear fireworks and think they are under attack. Animals also experience anxiety and stress so the psychological harm is significant.

“The effect of fireworks on animals is unacceptable and animal welfare must be our first priority.”

The strong support for the petition showed a shift in public attitudes towards fireworks and that people are concerned about animal welfare, says Dr Bullen.

“We’re disappointed at the outcome and will continue to push for a ban. Until such a ban is accepted in New Zealand, the NZVA encourages people to consider the impact that purchasing fireworks for private use can have on pets and stock neighbouring their properties and to consider attending public displays instead.”

“We also encourage the public to continue to speak up on this issue and submit to parliament that they're disappointed at the decision."

He says that the use of private fireworks has been banned in Australia for many years and New Zealand needs to do the same.

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