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Letter to the Editor From Jenny About Fireworks and Animals - 30 Dec 2008

Letter Printed at, December 30th, 2008

Last week, the Victorian Government announced plans to have cigarette smoking banned from cars carrying passengers under the age of 18.

In contrast, this week Victorians will deliberately be showered with poisonous chemicals and particle-laden smoke as millions of dollars worth of New Year's Eve fireworks explode in the skies above Melbourne.

Isn't this somewhat ironic?

If it's unacceptable for children to breathe in cigarette smoke, why is it acceptable for all and sundry to be showered with toxic metals such as strontium, magnesium, titanium, boric acid, potassium, lithium and radioactive barium?

We are supposedly living in an era of environmental awareness with companies soon to pay high penalties for polluting, yet at the same time, polluting fireworks extravaganzas are becoming bigger every year.

Surely this is highly inconsistent of our government - not to mention downright irresponsible.

People with asthma and other health problems are particularly at risk and airborne chemical particles have been linked to lung cancer, heart attacks and premature deaths.

The ear-splitting explosions are themselves a health hazard, with fireworks emitting sounds of up to 190 decibels. This is 110 to 115 decibels higher than the 75- to 80-decibel range, where damage to the human ear begins.

Clearly fireworks are neither environmentally-friendly nor people-friendly and neither are they animal-friendly.

Fireworks cause blind panic in all animals and each New Year's Eve terror-stricken pets flee from their homes in an attempt to escape the unknown terror.

Frantic dogs have been know to leap through glass windows and scale high fences in their desperate bid to escape. Animals may be found exhausted, confused and injured, after traveling great  distances from their homes. Some may be found dead on the road.
Even dogs safely secured in their homes can experience long-term trauma. Surely we are not so desperate for a few moments of oohs and aahs that we have to put animals through this anguish.

One pleasing piece of news this week is that the city's largest private event, the Sensation dance party, will stage an environmentally-friendly and animal-friendly sound and light spectacular.

How long will it be before the Victorian Government follows their lead and phases out entertainment that harms our environment, our health and our fellow creatures?

Jenny Moxham is an animal rights campaigner.

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