Shun Firecrackers; Groups Plea for Compassion to Animals as New Year’s Revelry Nears

The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the EcoWaste Coalition jointly urged the public to have mercy on animals who suffer a lot from the deafening sounds of firecrackers and fireworks to welcome the New Year.

The animal and environmental rights groups deplored the “acoustical violence” inflicted upon pet and stray animals such as cats and dogs, especially during the last hour of the outgoing year.

“Our four-legged friends, particularly cats and dogs, suffer in silence as firecrackers and fireworks of varying intensity are ignited in the belief that such practice can shoo away bad luck and pull in good energy and fortune,” said Anna Cabrera, Executive Director, PAWS.

“Cats and dogs are specially gifted with acute sense of hearing. Pyrotechnic explosions can cause acoustic trauma to animals that  humans often take no notice of,” she added.

Such traumatic exposure to ear-splitting sounds and noxious fumes can stress animals and cause appetite loss, upset stomach and  confused sense of direction making animals to go astray or get injured, said PAWS.

“We appeal to all New Year revelers to be wary of the safety and wellbeing of our animal friends and to act compassionately by not lighting firecrackers and fireworks, which are damaging to  human, animal and ecosystem health,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

PAWS and EcoWaste Coalition urged the public to consider the following steps to make the New Year’s revelry a less painful experience for cats and dogs:

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.

To avoid pets from being exposed to materials that can cause choking, strangulation and poisoning hazards, the groups reminded the public to keep these out of pets' reach: shopping bags, cleaning solutions, tobacco products and holiday treats such as chocolate, fruit cake, nuts and alcoholic drinks.