Wichita Mayor Urged to Uphold City's Animal-Friendly Fireworks Restrictions
For Immediate Release:
December 1, 2017
Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382
Wichita, Kan. – After learning that the Wichita City Council is considering loosening the city’s restrictions on fireworks, PETA sent a letter this morning to Mayor Jeff Longwell urging him to keep the current policy in place, for the whole community’s sake.
In the letter, PETA points out that terrified dogs can go missing because they panic and jump over fences or through glass windows to escape the noise and chaos of loud fireworks displays, often winding up at animal shelters with bloody paws and broken bones, being hit by a car, or becoming lost and never found. And it’s not just animals who suffer from the sounds: Veterans and others living with post-traumatic stress disorder can be deeply disturbed by the blasts.
“Easing up on the fireworks restrictions would be an explosively bad move on Wichita’s part,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is urging the council members to protect the more vulnerable members of the community, including animals and people with PTSD, by maintaining the current ordinance or switching to stunning noiseless fireworks.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—encourages everyone to celebrate with silent fireworks, which are richer in colorful effects and visual choreography than conventional ones and provide all the fanfare without the fright.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell follows.
December 1, 2017
City of Wichita
Dear Mr. Longwell,
I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, including many across Kansas, in response to the City Council’s vote this week to consider loosening Wichita’s fireworks regulations. We urge you to maintain the restrictions on fireworks for the benefit of all of Wichita’s residents.
To dogs, cats, and wildlife, fireworks sound like an all-out war, and they have devastating consequences. Terrified dogs climb or dig their way out of fenced yards as they try frantically to escape the chaos, resulting in increased stray-animal intake at animal shelters across the nation—which further strains community resources. Many animals arrive with bloody paws and broken bones, some are never reunited with their families, and others are doomed to a worse fate.
Loud fireworks scare wildlife, especially deer, into running onto roads, where some are hit and killed by vehicles. Birds have been known to abandon their nests, leaving their eggs vulnerable to predators. A team of scientists used weather radar to track the reactions of birds to fireworks displays for three years and found that tens of thousands of them took flight when the explosions began and continued flying for the duration of the shows. Most birds cannot see well in the dark, so this type of disruption can cause them to injure themselves by crashing into power lines, cars, buildings, trees, and 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 crash into objects such as houses and cars.
The stress caused by these displays is not limited to animals: Veterans and others suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be sensitive to and deeply disturbed by the noise of the explosives. And as you probably know, Wichita’s area hospitals were already busy this year treating fireworks-related injuries. The number of incidents may be even higher next year if the city loosens fireworks restrictions.
We hope you’ll keep the current restrictions in place, but if you do decide to revise your policy, please consider permitting only silent fireworks. Rich in colorful effects and visual choreography, silent fireworks offer a stress-free celebration for noise-sensitive animals, children, veterans, and elderly people. Thank you for your time. We look forward to hearing from you.
Executive Vice President