Four horses have already been killed this year as a direct result of fireworks, the British Horse Society (BHS) has revealed. With Fireworks Night taking place on Sunday (5 November) the charity has urged the general public to act responsibly this year, after sharing the shocking statistics.
Forty five horse fatalities relating to fireworks have been logged via the BHS’s Horse i app since 2010. In total, the charity has received 1,317 firework related incident reports during this time period which includes 292 equine injuries.
To reduce the risk of more tragic incidents occurring across the UK, the BHS is encouraging the public to follow some simple steps this bonfire weekend:
- Where possible, attend public displays.
- If you plan to set off fireworks, let your neighbours know in advance. This gives some horse owners time to prepare.
- Consider quiet or silent fireworks. These allow you to enjoy the same fabulous display without spooking any surrounding animals.
- Make sure that you aim any rockets away from fields or stables. Debris can cause injury to horses and stables may pose a fire risk.
“Fireworks may be enjoyable for some people, but we must remember that they can cause considerable distress to horses,” said Des Payne, Safety Team Leader at the BHS. “We are urging anyone planning to set off fireworks during this period to understand the effect it may have on local animals and the potential fire risk to stables or outbuildings. Critically, we are asking people to attend public displays only, as the set date and time provided by these firework presentations will help some horse owners to prepare.
“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.”
The BHS is also encouraging equestrians and the wider public to log any firework concerns using the Horse i app. Logging these incidents will help the equine charity to better understand the rate of equine-related incidents across the UK and lobby for change in equine safety laws.
Most recently the BHS’s incident figures helped to inform new firework laws in Scotland, with the charity directly involved in the Scottish Firework Stakeholder group.
Under the updated act, councils in Scotland can now designate Firework Control Zones where it will be a criminal offence to ignite or knowingly throw a lit firework. Organised public firework displays will still be permitted within these zones to allow people to enjoy fireworks safely.
To learn more about the Horse i app and how to download it, visit: bhs.org.uk/go-riding/record-an-incident
To find more practical fireworks advice for horse owners, click here. The BHS also has downloadable posters; a 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. To access these BHS resources, click here.