PETA Will Pony Up if Mission Bay’s Fourth of July Goes Fireworks-Free

For Immediate Release:
March 29, 2022

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

San Diego

The Mission Bay Yacht Club is raising money in the hope of bringing back its once-annual Independence Day fireworks display, so PETA sent a letter this morning to the club’s rear commodore, Kathy Dryden, with an offer: If the club agrees to swap noisy fireworks for a laser light show—which is kind to wildlife, animal companions, and vulnerable humans, including those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder—PETA will gladly contribute to fundraising efforts.

“The booms and blasts of fireworks scare wildlife out of their nests, drive terrified dogs out of their yards, and send veterans back to the worst days of war,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA would be pleased to help the Mission Bay Yacht Club usher in a new tradition by marking America’s independence with a celebration that’s fun—not frightening.”

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 or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Dryden follows.

March 29, 2022

Kathy Dryden
Rear Commodore

Mission Bay Yacht Club

Dear Ms. Dryden:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals U.S.—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, including many thousands across California—in response to the news that Mission Bay Yacht Club is raising funds to revive its Fourth of July fireworks show. If you would be so kind as to switch to a laser lights show that the whole community could enjoy—including companion animals, wildlife, and people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or anxiety—instead of fireworks, we would be pleased to donate $3,000 to your GoFundMe initiative.

As you may know, in addition to being a fire risk, fireworks cause animals to panic. Terrified dogs often climb, break, or dig their way out of wherever they are as they frantically try to escape the chaos, resulting in increased intake at shelters, which further strains community resources. Many dogs arrive with bloody paws and broken bones, some are never reunited with their families, and others are hit by cars or strangled when their collars become caught on fences.

Fireworks also 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. Humans are also often injured in fireworks accidents, and displays can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory problems. Thousands of people visit emergency rooms every year for fireworks-related injuries, while veterans and others suffering from PTSD can be deeply disturbed by the noise of the explosives and the smell of gunpowder.

Tradition is never a justification for continuing something we know to be harmful to others. Laser-light shows are safer, produce virtually no air pollution, and are growing in popularity. We would be more than happy to assist in any way, including helping you find a company to work with. Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Newkirk


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