Wildwood Urged to Scrap Weekly Fireworks Shows to Protect Wildlife, Companion Animals, and Veterans With PTSD
For Immediate Release:
August 3, 2020
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Wildwood, N.J. – This morning, PETA sent a letter to local officials outlining the overwhelming reasons why they should cancel their plan to reinstate the city’s Friday Night Fireworks shows after they were canceled earlier this summer because of the pandemic.
In the letter, PETA points out that after fireworks displays, animal shelters see a spike in the number of lost dogs, who sometimes jump fences and even break through glass doors in order to escape the loud noises. The blasts also cause wildlife to flee onto roads and into buildings or abandon their nests—and they can be deeply distressing to people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“To the vulnerable among us, fireworks sound just like ‘bombs bursting in air,’ and that can be terrifying,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is urging Wildwood to let this fireworks plan fizzle and to embrace compassionate means of celebration, such as laser light shows.”
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.
PETA’s letter to Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement & Development Authority Executive Director John Siciliano follows.
August 3, 2020
Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer
Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority
Dear Mr. Siciliano,
I’m 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 thousands across New Jersey, in response to the planned resumption of the Friday Night Fireworks on the Wildwoods’ beaches starting on August 7. We strongly urge you to cancel these remaining shows and finance alternatives in order to protect all residents of the Wildwoods.
Traditional fireworks sound like an all-out war—not only to those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder but also to dogs, cats, and wildlife—and their use has devastating consequences. Terrified dogs climb or dig their way out of fenced-in yards as they frantically try to escape the chaos, resulting in increased stray-animal intakes at shelters across the nation, which further strains community resources. Many arrive with bloody paws or broken bones, some are never reunited with their families, and others are doomed to a worse fate.
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 easily 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.
In addition, humans have been injured in fireworks accidents, and the displays can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory problems. Veterans and others suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are also sensitive to and can be deeply disturbed by the noise of the 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.
We hope you’ll consider financing other celebratory displays, such as laser-light shows, and skip the fireworks this year. Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk