Warning: Fireworks Bill Dangerous for Animals, Veterans

PETA Urges Ohio Senate President to Vote No on Bill to Allow Fireworks Year-Round

For Immediate Release:
October 16, 2017

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Columbus, Ohio

This morning, PETA sent a letter to Sen. Larry Obhof, president of the Ohio Senate, urging him to vote no on House Bill 226—which would allow Ohio residents to shoot off fireworks at any time, day or night—when it reaches the senate.

In the letter, PETA points out that the bill would fail to protect Ohio’s most vulnerable residents. People who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder—such as any number of the more than 800,000 veterans in Ohio—often experience fear and panic at the sounds of exploding fireworks, particularly when they occur without warning. Following loud fireworks displays, animal shelters see a spike in the number of lost dogs, who have been known to jump fences and even break glass doors in their efforts to escape the terrifying noise. The blasts can also cause wildlife to run onto roads or into buildings or abandon their nests.

“To the most vulnerable among us, fireworks sound exactly like ‘bombs bursting in air,’ and it can be terrifying,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA’s thousands of Ohio members—and all kind people—ask that Ohio’s lawmakers vote no on this irresponsible bill, unless it stipulates that only silent fireworks may be used.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—encourages kind people to celebrate with silent fireworks, which are richer in colorful effects and visual choreography than conventional fireworks and provide all the fanfare and celebration without any of the frightening noise.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Sen. Larry Obhof follows.

October 16, 2017

The Honorable Larry Obhof

Ohio State Senator

Via e-mail: [email protected]

Dear Mr. Obhof,

“I can’t hear any loud noises. They freak me out. I almost started crying. My hands were shaking.”

—Las Vegas shooting survivor Daniela Gelay after someone lit firecrackers outside the car dealership where she works

I am writing to you urgently on behalf of the more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, including many across Ohio, in response to the passage of House Bill 226, which would permit residents to ignite fireworks anytime. Those of us who not only fear for animals’ safety and value wildlife but also are concerned about children, the elderly, veterans, people suffering from PTSD, and all those who have experienced or anticipate the trauma of shootings ask you to vote against this bill.

This bill is un-American, as it wouldn’t protect the most vulnerable residents of the state of Ohio. Master Sergeant Michael McKenzie Sr., a retired Army Ranger and the North Carolina chapter director of the PTSD Foundation of America, said that fireworks can trigger stress responses in veterans: “He or she has to take a pause and realize we’re not in Afghanistan anymore. We’re at home. … This goes way beyond acknowledging PTSD on Fourth of July. It’s bringing awareness to the community that just doesn’t know.” According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ most recent data, there were about 866,000 veterans in Ohio as of September 2014, and approximately 7 to 8 percent of all Americans will experience PTSD at some point.

Boston Marathon bombing survivor Lynn Julian said of fireworks, “Even when you know it’s coming, something like fireworks is so loud. So aggressive, that it’s often a trigger no matter what.”

Both companion animals and wildlife panic and try to escape from the loud explosions of a conventional fireworks show. Animal shelters see an increase in the number of lost dogs following fireworks displays. Many panic and try to flee, and some become lost or are hit by cars. Some animals even die outright from the fright or strangle themselves trying to break free from chains. Loud fireworks displays also scare wildlife, such as deer, onto roads, where they are highly susceptible to injuries and death from automobiles, and the noise frightens birds from their nests, disrupting flight patterns and causing mid-air collisions with buildings.

Please oppose this bill or require residents to use only silent fireworks in order to improve the quality of life for all Ohio residents. Thank you. We look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


cc:     The Honorable John R. Kasich, Governor of Ohio ([email protected])

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