“Have mercy… be compassionate… firecrackers are hurtful for animals, too.”
Speaking in behalf of their voiceless pets, this was the collective plea of environmental and animal welfare advocates who gathered today in front of the Malate Catholic Church to exhort the public not to blow up firecrackers and pyrotechnics to usher in the New Year.
Co-organized by the EcoWaste Coalition and the Care for the Earth Ministry of Our Lady of Remedies Parish, the cheery assembly of kids and grown-ups alike, together with their furry friends, highlighted the group’s continuing “Iwas PapuToxic” drive towards a cleaner, greener and safer celebration of the New Year.
Members of the Animal Kingdom Foundation, Inc. (AKF), Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (CARA Welfare Philippines) and the Philippine Pug Lovers Club came to the event with their pet dogs.
After a brief program and after being blessed by Father John Leydon, the group marched around the immediate vicinity of the church and then to the nearby Plaza Rajah Sulayman, brandishing a banner with the message “Be Kind to Animals: Say No to Firecrackers.”
“If humans can withstand the acoustic inconvenience that annual New Year festivities have become, such cannot be said for domesticated pets and stray animals whose highly receptive ears render them helpless throughout the traumatic ordeal,” lamented Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.
“Let us demonstrate our mercy and compassion to animals by opting for a kinder firecracker-free New Year Eve’s revelry,” she pleaded.
“Prolonged exposure to deafening noise, blinding lights and suffocating fumes may damage animals’ sensitive ears, powerful noses and keen eyesight,” explained Atty. Heidi Caguioa of AKF.
“Sudden firecracker explosions not only frighten small animals such as birds, cats and dogs, but also cause severe stress such as stomach upset, loss of appetite and decreased sense of direction that may result to animals getting lost or injured,” she added.
The groups recommended the following tips to help animals survive the firecracker noise and injuries during the New Year’s Eve festivities:
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 pets with a safe place to take temporary refuge. If possible, allow them 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 pets’ access to drinking water. Make them pee or poo.
9. Do not yell or laugh at your pets when they are cowering or shaking in fear. This is a natural response to a threat that they do not understand and cannot avoid.