For Immediate Release:
November 30, 2021
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Newport, Ore. – As Newport considers an ordinance that would allow the city council to ban fireworks during a drought, PETA sent a letter this morning to Mayor Dean Sawyer and the members of the city council urging them to go a step further by banning fireworks year-round.
PETA notes that fireworks don’t just start fires. Every Independence Day (and any other time fireworks go off), animal shelters see a spike in lost animals who have jumped fences, broken through doors, and otherwise fled the noise. The blasts can also cause panicked wildlife to flee onto roads and can be deeply distressing to military veterans and other noise-sensitive individuals.
“Fireworks really do sound like ‘bombs bursting in air’ to the most vulnerable among us, and that can be terrifying,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is encouraging Newport leaders to let fireworks fizzle for the sake of the environment and everyone who calls the city home.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Sawyer follows.
November 30, 2021
The Honorable Dean Sawyer, Mayor of Newport
Newport City Council
Dear Mayor Sawyer and Council Members:
I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, including many thousands across Oregon—in response to the recent ordinance allowing the council to ban fireworks during a drought. Please, will you ban fireworks permanently to protect all residents of Newport, including humans, domesticated animals, and wildlife?
As you may well realize, in addition to being a fire risk, fireworks cause animals to panic. Terrified dogs, hearing “bombs bursting in air,” climb, break, or dig their way out of wherever they are as they frantically try to escape the chaos, resulting in increased intakes at shelters, further straining community resources. Many arrive with bloody paws, some with broken bones. Some are never reunited with their families, and others are doomed to a worse fate—hit by cars or strangled when their collars become caught on fences as they clamber or jump over.
Fireworks produce plumes of smoke laden with particles that are harmful to the respiratory systems of humans and other animals. Birds caught in or near fireworks displays choke on the toxic residue. The California Coastal Commission banned the city of Gualala’s display when, following a 2006 show, seabirds fled their nests, leaving their chicks vulnerable to predators. Most birds cannot see well in the dark, so this type of disruption can lead to injuries if they inadvertently crash into power lines, cars, buildings, trees, or each other. In one case, 5,000 birds died on a New Year’s Eve in Arkansas after a fireworks display caused them to take flight and slam into objects such as houses and cars.
I’m sure you also know that humans are often injured in fireworks accidents and that displays can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory problems. Veterans and others suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder can be deeply disturbed by the noise of the explosives and the smell of the gunpowder. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 10,000 people were injured badly enough in fireworks accidents to require emergency treatment in 2019.
We hope you’ll ban fireworks not only during drought conditions but also permanently, to protect humans, other animals, and the environment. Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.
Very truly yours,