For Immediate Release:
December 20, 2021
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Harrisburg, Pa. – Pennsylvania State Sen. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) proposed legislation this month to ban fireworks every day of the year except a handful of holidays, so PETA sent him a letter today thanking him for the action and urging him to go a step further and ban all fireworks year round.
PETA notes that fireworks don’t only 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, or 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 Pennsylvania leaders to let fireworks fizzle, for the sake of the environment and everyone who calls the state 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 Scavello follows.
December 20, 2021
The Honorable Mario M. Scavello
Pennsylvania State Senator for the 40th District
Dear Sen. Scavello:
I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, and PETA U.S. is the largest animal rights organization in the world—to thank you for your proposed legislation to ban fireworks on all days other than a few select holidays. Please, will you consider eliminating these exceptions and propose a ban on all fireworks to protect all Pennsylvanians, including humans, companion animals, and wildlife?
Fireworks are bombs bursting in air to dogs, who frantically try to escape the chaos by climbing, breaking, or digging their way out of wherever they are, resulting in increased intakes at animal shelters, maxing out their capacity and further straining community resources. Those who arrive at shelters often have bloody paws and broken bones and are never able to be reunited with their families. Others are doomed to a worse fate, as they are hit by cars or strangled when their collars are caught on fences that they tried to clamber over.
Fireworks also produce plumes of smoke laden with particles that are harmful to the respiratory systems of animals. 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. Fireworks displays are also harmful to humans, as people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, including veterans, can be deeply disturbed by the noise of explosives and the smell of the gunpowder. On average, 180 people go to emergency rooms daily with fireworks-related injuries for an entire month around July 4.
By comparison, drone shows—which are safer and more eco-friendly—are growing in popularity and have been featured at Disney World’s 2016 Starbright Holidays show; the opening ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics; and the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. At PETA’s behest, communities like Costa Mesa, California, have implemented silent fireworks with great success to protect wildlife and companion animals.
We hope you’ll make this fireworks ban inclusive of all 365 days of the year to allow all vulnerable individuals to celebrate holidays without harm or fear. Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.
Very truly yours,