Industry News,  Safety

Animal Welfare Act ‘does not’ protect pets from fireworks, report finds

The Animal Welfare Act does not offer recourse or protection for pets or livestock caused to suffer because of firework displays, and the assertion by ministers that it does is an ‘illusion’, a new report finds.

The report by Redwings Horse Sanctuary, the largest horse welfare charity in the UK, was based on a roundtable discussion attended by experts in the field of animal welfare and legislation.

The roundtable discussed whether or not the Animal Welfare Act could realistically be used to hold someone to account in situations where an animal has been killed or injured. The group concluded unanimously that it could not.

In addition, the report reveals that more than 40% of dog owners say their dog is afraid of fireworks – that’s over four million dogs.

Campaigns and Policy Manager at Redwings, Helen Whitelegg, said: “The roundtable discussion raised multiple reasons why the Animal Welfare Act, while doing a fantastic job of enabling those who neglect or abuse animals to be brought to account, is not designed to apply in situations where someone letting off fireworks inadvertently causes death, injury, illness or trauma to an animal.

“When you hear a barrister with 22 years of experience, who has worked extensively with the Animal Welfare Act, say that he wishes the Act could be used in this way but that it simply can’t, and that it’s like trying to put a square peg in a round hole, you know something needs to change.”

Whitelegg added: “We hope that the publication of this report will mean that ministers will no longer hide behind the illusion that the Animal Welfare Act offers any protection or recourse for those whose pets are caused to suffer because of fireworks.

“Westminster has relied on this response for too long while fireworks continue to cause fear, suffering and even death to so many animals every year, and anxiety, cost and grief to their devastated owners.”

Redwings Horse Sanctuary is encouraging anyone concerned about the impact of fireworks on animals to share the report with their MP and ask that they support calls for a comprehensive review of current fireworks regulations.

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