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Redwings has seen first-hand the tragic consequences of irresponsible fireworks use.
While we’re aware that many people enjoy the festivities at this time of year, we would like to see the use of fireworks restricted to publically organised and advertised events for which a licence would be required.
This is why this year we are backing the RSPCA’s #BangOutOfOrder campaign to reduce the negative impact fireworks can have on animal welfare. Click here to find out more.
You can show your support too by writing to your local representative with your views and experiences, or why not add our own ‘Fireworks frighten horses’ frame to your Facebook profile picture to help raise awareness?
Unfortunately, incidents of distress to our horses and anxiety to our staff caused by fireworks are routine at this time of year.
Very sadly, we lost two ponies, called Sprite and Percy, during the night of 5th November 2016 at one of our sites in Norfolk due to illness and injury caused almost certainly from having been frightened by nearby fireworks. Staff who check on our horses overnight described the sky as being lit by fireworks for a prolonged period that evening.
This followed the loss of another horse, called Cinders, on 1st November 2014, who lived at Redwings Ada Cole in Essex, who suffered an irreparable hoof injury due to tearing around her paddock in fright.
And in 2012, a substantial fire was also started at Redwings Oxhill in Warwickshire when a firework landed on a trailer of newly-delivered shaving bales, endangering the lives of our donkey herd peacefully tucked up for the night in their barn just a few feet away.
In the run-up to Bonfire Night, we circulare letters to neighbours of our sites asking them to let us know of any displays they are planning. While some are good at informing us, giving us a chance to move horses to further away fields, unfortunately many often don’t think to tell us.
We also undertake additional overnight checks and draft in extra staff when firework displays are likely to be held, however we know that little can be done to reduce the distress our horses feel.
Earlier this year, we submitted a report to a government consultation outlining the negative impact fireworks has on our rescued residents and the additional measures we have to take to try and keep them safe at this time of year. You can read this here.
If you’re a horse owner and would like guidance on how you can help your four-legged friend cope this fireworks season, we have a checklist of actions you can undertake which you can download here.