Most animals are frightened by the sight and sound of fireworks, so around 5 November every year there are always
accidents involving animals, but the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry says most of the accidents could have been
prevented by forward planning.
David Barbour of MAF’s Animal Welfare Enforcement Team says that while most people are aware of the problems fireworks
can cause cats and dogs, the dangers to livestock are often overlooked.
“Of the different species of livestock, horses are most at risk, particularly foals and horses with a flighty nature,”
Mr Barbour sayd. “They can be terrified by the screeches, explosions and flashes of fireworks. There is a real risk of
serious injury if they are panicked into fences or through gates, over bluffs or into ditches. The consequences are
likely to be particularly serious if they escape onto the road where they can cause accidents involving pedestrians and
Mr Barbour urges anyone involved in the organisation of a fireworks display to do all they can to give their neighbours
advance warning. For bigger displays, he recommends placing a notice in a local shop window or in the public notices
column of the local newspaper.
“Anyone who has livestock close to a fireworks display should move their animals to a safe place beforehand. This means
a secure well-fenced paddock well away from the display. Alternatively horses could be housed for the night, or an old
sensible horse could be borrowed as a paddock companion for a few days before and during the event. It is very important
that if livestock cannot be moved away from the sight or sound of the fireworks, someone stays close by to check them
regularly and frequently and ensure they come to no harm.”
Mr Barbour says that a little forward planning to safeguard livestock can prevent a good deal of heartache the morning
after the celebrations of the night before.