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Tue, 1 December 2020

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Recommendations for tightening fireworks regulations in Scotland spark joy for animal welfare, vets say

British Veterinary Association

2 min read Partner content

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed recommendations set out by the Scottish Government’s Fireworks Review Group yesterday (3 November) as a positive step for animal health and welfare in Scotland.

The Group’s report, presented in a statement to the Scottish Parliament ahead of Bonfire Night, acknowledges the need for a ‘fundamental shift’ in how fireworks are accessed and used in Scotland and recommends prompt implementation of 11 comprehensive measures.

The recommendations include:

  • the introduction of mandatory conditions when fireworks are purchased from retailers
  • restricting the times of day fireworks can be sold and volume of fireworks that can be purchased at any one time
  • restricting the days and times fireworks can be set off
  • the introduction of no firework areas or zones
  • the creation of a proxy purchasing offence to prevent adults from buying fireworks on behalf of those under the age of 18. 

BVA Scottish Branch President Kathleen Robertson represented the views of the veterinary profession on this inter-disciplinary group.

Responding to the launch of the report, Ms. Robertson said,

“The report’s recommendations are a welcome step towards positive and much-needed change in fireworks controls in Scotland.

“It was a privilege to be the voice of the veterinary profession on this inter-disciplinary review group. The regulation of fireworks is a real One Health issue that impacts the health and welfare of animals, humans and our environment.

“The loud and high-pitched noises from fireworks can be extremely traumatic for animals, and vets see first-hand the impact of firework-related distress at this time of the year. BVA has long supported calls for overhauling the current controls on the use and sale of fireworks, which we feel don't go far enough to protect the health and welfare of animals in Scotland and across the UK. 

“We look forward to seeing the report’s recommendations implemented by the Scottish Government as soon as possible.”

The Fireworks Review Group was established in 2019 by the Minister for Community Safety following a public consultation, to which BVA had submitted a written response. Ms Robertson was invited to sit on the group as a veterinary and animal welfare representative and gave oral evidence on the negative impact of fireworks on animal health and welfare.

BVA continues to support calls for a reduction in the maximum permitted noise of fireworks across the UK, as well as further restrictions on the use and sale of fireworks, clear labelling, and a duty of care on users to properly dispose of debris and remnants of fireworks.

BVA’s policy position on the use and sale of fireworks is available to view here.

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