In the last year, more than double the number of incidents involving fireworks were reported to the BHS, up from 66 to 134. Over 400 incidents and, tragically, 23 horse fatalities have been reported to the BHS since 2010.
The British Horse Society (BHS) will be supporting the House of Common Petitions Committee’s report on their inquiry into fireworks. The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) have committed to delivering an awareness campaign as the 2020 firework season gets underway, which will promote the safe and considerate use of fireworks, with a focus on the effects on animals.
The BHS is supporting the Governments campaign, providing advice and resources for horse owners, as well as working alongside other animal charities, such as the RSPCA, to raise awareness. With many public displays being cancelled due to COVID-19 it is expected that there will be many more informal displays this year.
Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at The British Horse Society, said: “We are delighted to be involved with the government and other animal charities to provide the OPSS with our statistics and to help with the wider education around the use of fireworks.”
“Fireworks may be enjoyable for some people, but they can cause considerable trauma or distress to horses. We would urge anyone planning to set off fireworks during this period, especially on November 5th to consider the effect it may have on local animals and the potential fire risk to stables or outbuildings.”
“If you are a horse owner and you are aware of a firework display, please notify your neighbour or display organiser to the location of horses nearby and let them know the challenges horses and other animals face when fireworks are let off. Ask them if there are any changes that they could make to ensure the animals safety, such as setting the fireworks off in another direction.”
“I also urge our equine community to report any firework concerns to the BHS horse incidents website (www.horseincidents.org.uk). It is vital that we gather this evidence, so that we can provide the OPSS with data across the UK, to assist with further decisions around fireworks in the future.”
The BHS offers practical firework advice to horse owners if they are concerned for the welfare or safety of their horse. This includes downloadable posters; horse owner checklist to prepare and make firework season as safe as possible for you and your horses, and information and guidance for people planning their own private firework display. All the resources and information are available at www.bhs.org.uk/fireworks
As the largest equine charity in the UK, The British Horse Society is dedicated to education, equine welfare, protecting and increasing access to bridleways and places to ride and carriage drive off road, and safety for horse and riders. The Society’s thriving and active community of staff and volunteers is committed to improving the lives of horses everywhere.
House of Commons Petition Committee’s report can be seen on the link below. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmselect/cmpetitions/242/24202.htm