An “Iwas PapuToxic” get-together of humans and their pets in Quezon City added an “animal flavor” to the heightened efforts by the government and the civil society to dissuade the public to say no to firecrackers and fireworks.
Organized by the EcoWaste Coalition in collaboration with the Animal Kingdom Foundation, CARA Welfare Philippines, Pets for Peace and the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, the gathering of women, men and children and their furry and feathered friends centered on the theme “Be Kind to Animals.”
Held at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, the animal rights and environmental health rights advocates voiced their common call for the public to turn away from the noisy and polluting tradition of greeting the New Year with ear-splitting sounds from firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.
After the parade from Quezon Avenue to North Avenue, 21 youth artists from the Malikhaing Landas na Magpapayabong sa Sining at Kultura (Malaya) presented a short skit describing the ill effects of paputok to animals that concluded with an“Oppa Gangnam Style” dance led by performers donning cat and dog headgears.
“It is not only humans that are badly affected by the man-made chemicals, noise and waste pollution resulting from the explosion offirecrackers and pyrotechnics. Animals, particularly cats and dogs, suffer silently from the deafening mayhem,” said Aileen Lucero, Iwas PapuToxic Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Cats, dogs and other animals are gifted with highly receptive hearing that is no less than 10 times more sensitive than that of humans and firecracker explosions from Piccolo to Super Lolo can cause acoustic trauma for them,” explained Atty. Heidi Marquez-Caguioa, Legal Officer, Animal Kingdom Foundation.
“The fear and panic resulting from the firecracker noise can severely stress animals resulting to stomach upset, loss of appetite and tosome extent, decreased sense of direction that can result to animals getting lost or injured,” added Nancy Cu Unjieng, President, CARA Welfare Philippines. “By opting to usher in the New Year in an animal-friendly way, we promote love and respect not only for animals, but also for people and the environment,” said Willa Tecson, Executive Director, Pets for Peace.
“It is important for us to act responsibly and with compassion, so we do not endanger the health and well-being of animals with our festive celebration of New Year, which can be a very cruel experience for them,” Anna Cabrera, Executive Director, Philippine Animal Welfare Society.
The groups recommended the following tips to help animals survive the firecracker noise and injuries during the New Year’s Eve celebrations:
1. Persuade members of your household to make your home a “no firecracker” zone.
2. Politely tell your neighbors not to light or throw firecrackers near your home.
3. Exercise your pets during the days leading up to the New Year’s Eve and in the next morning when the festivities are over and the smoke has cleared.
4. Give your pets a physical outlet for their pent up energy due to arousal and stress.
5. Manage the environment so it is as relaxing as possible and as less stressful as you can make it.
6. Provide your pet with a safe place to take temporary refuge. If possible, allow your pet to stay in a quiet room such as a bedroom.
7. Close the windows, put the curtains down and play a relaxing music to neutralize the noise from the outside to help your pets feel secure.
8. Ensure your pet’s access to drinking water. Make her/him pee or poo.
9. Do not yell or laugh at your pet when she/he is cowering or shaking in fear. This is a natural response to a threat that they do not understand and cannot avoid.