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Ban Private Fireworks

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Every Guy Fawkes without fail, animals are terrorised, people are injured, thousands of dollars of property and belongings are damaged beyond salvaging, livelihoods are lost and native foliage is burnt away.

Furthermore fireworks do not simply terrify animals; fireworks can kill them. For each whiz, pop and bang, felines cower and hide while canines cringe and whimper. In both instances, the beloved family pet will then very likely bolt outside to escape the thundering sounds above. Blinded by their terror, animals don’t notice oncoming vehicles that that will either injure or kill them. This is only one example of thousands of documented cases of animals having to be put down every year as a consequence of the idiotic actions of immature clowns with fireworks. For example, the Manawatu branch of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals investigated a case of a moggie being killed by a group of children who set fireworks off in its ears. A german shepherd was killed in South Auckland after a group of young children also put fireworks in its ears and set the fireworks off, in Hamilton another cat was killed by fireworks that had been put in its mouth, and in Whakatane, a blind woman with her guide dog had firecrackers thrown at the dog. The frightened guide dog run off, dragging the blind woman along the footpath resulting in a broken arm. Traumatised and unable to work for some time, the woman was unable to prepare food because of those children.

Another Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals letter refers to a policeman who was called out to a rural address. Adults were present inside the house drinking when resident teenagers and friends started skylarking around with sky-rockets. One of the youths said words to the effect ‘Watch me make those horses run’ while aiming a sky-rocket across at three horses. Hearing the sky-rocket, all three horses ran into a barbed-wire fence. With severe lacerations over the upper area of one horse's front legs and chest, veterinary treatment was given for that horse to live. A second horse also received severe chest lacerations but the injuries were so bad, that horse was put down. The third horse not only received severe chest lacerations, but also broke its leg when it became entangled in the wire fence. As a consequence, that horse also had to be put down. The main offender, aged 14 or 15, also received serious burns to his hands from the sky-rocket. Too bad.

Due to lack of supervision children roam freely, mercilessly injuring innocent animals and people. And for what? For perverse entertainment while hospital casualties increase and fire departments extinguish unnecessary fires (started by fireworks). A Wanganui man and his two-year-old son were treated for smoke inhalation after their house was the victim of a late-night firework-bombing and a Feilding teacher had to act quickly to stop his house going up in similar fashion. Life-threatening fireworks abuse examples that could have been avoided.

3 Nov 2012, Taranaki Daily News: ‘Last year, a blip on November 5 saw 111 emergency calls about fires nationwide skyrocket by almost 60 per cent compared to 2010. The Fire Service called for an outright retail ban of fireworks in 2006, saying private sales led to “pockets of mayhem in the suburbs”. The responding 2007 legislation put conditions on sparklers and restricted sales to a period of just four days and to those aged 18 and over. Fireworks imported into New Zealand went up by 20 per cent totalling 1370 tonnes this year. Last year’s imports totalled 1135 tonnes.’

18 Oct 2006, NZ Police Press Release: ‘The New Zealand Police support our call and all of the organisations that make up the National Rural Fire Advisory Committee – local governments, the Department of Conservation, Federated Farmers, the Defence Force and private forest owners as well as the National Rural Fire Authority – have put their weight behind a ban.’ Inspector Marc Paynter from the Police National Headquarters says the Police’s backing of a ban is for the same reasons they stated last year. ‘It is always a minority of people who behave irresponsibly, but they are taking increasing amounts of time to handle, and causing increasing amounts of damage before they are brought to our attention. Public displays are well organised, safe and spectacular. We would prefer to put our resources into policing them, rather than dealing with pockets of mayhem in the suburbs.’

As soon as fireworks go on sale, fires reported around the country go sky-high and and the risks associated with the private use of fireworks far outweigh their benefits. Fireworks are also used before and after Guy Fawkes, fireworks are explosives and skin damage is done in three minutes. Young people who have lost their hearing or received serious ear or eye damage during Guy Fawkes are reported every year. Regardless of the money spent trying to educate abusers and as long as fireworks are readily available, like alcohol, people will continue to abuse fireworks. Guy Fawkes is a dangerous tradition that puts everyone and everything in the fireworks path at risk with fatal consequences; where there is fireworks above, there is death and destruction below.

By all means continue with ANNUAL fireworks public displays – public displays set-up by professional pyrotechnics and monitored by responsible adults. Fire Depts want fireworks banned, Police want fireworks banned, local authorities want fireworks banned, SPCA consistently calls for fireworks to be banned and there are numerous online petitions to ban the private use of fireworks. Over 4,000 signatures alone on one petition requesting the sale of fireworks ban sourced from the first page of a internet search. The fact is, more New Zealander’s want the use of private fireworks banned; thousands more than the self-centred simpletons lacking respect for animal and human life, peoples home and business, or the environment they share.


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