Fireworks: for and against

2013-11-02 00:00

MANY people have been going to the SPCA to get tranquillisers for their pets in preparation for the fireworks that will be set off tomorrow for Diwali.

The loud bangs from the fireworks can be quite traumatising for animals, who have a heightened sense of hearing.

Kennel manager at the SPCA, Ronnie Yeoman, said that there was a mixture of responses from people getting medication for their pets.

“Some people are okay with the fireworks. They know it happens every year and are prepared for it. Others are really peeved off. They are concerned for their animals and for elderly people who may get a shock when they hear the noise,” said Yeoman.

She warned people with pets to ensure that they are distracted when the fireworks start going off.

“People who are not going to be at home to comfort their pets must make sure they are secured. They can give them something to help them relax. Rescue Remedy or other calming agents will work just fine. They must start give this to them a few days in advance. Also, put the TV or radio on so they are distracted from the noise.”

In Durban, Thea Gower-Jackson of the Animal Anti-Cruelty League said she dreads the celebrations that will commence tomorrow, having to prepare herself and her pets days in advance for the uncomfortable night.

“I live in a small town in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, situated close to a family that goes all out for the Diwali celebrations.

“We have tried to ask them to limit the noise as my pets just cannot handle it, but they have not paid heed to our requests,” said Gower-Jackson.

She urged those celebrating to give thought to animals, as they are most affected by the sound of fireworks.

Ela Gandhi, a renowned peace activist, recipient of numerous awards and the granddaughter of the late Mahatma Gandhi, said she does not feel the festival is a question of tolerance, but rather about the importance of the day. She said emphasis needs to be placed on the significance of Diwali.

“The importance of Diwali to me is not the bursting of fireworks, as I choose to focus on the importance of the day. For me, the festival of lights is all about giving, and the rituals involved with the occasion. I begin my day with my family, where we conduct a prayer, after which we spend the day giving back to the community; that is what it is all about,” she said.

“I personally do not like fireworks as I feel they are just a waste of money. Bursting fireworks is not the essence of Diwali, prayer is.”

Gandhi added that freedom is not limitless as there are always boundaries, and those who celebrate with fireworks should do so in a controlled manner.

• According to Jay Sookoo from India Fireworks in Durban, the most popular items for Diwali are Pop Pops, which he said are designed for children. A box costs 99c.

He said the average family spends about R500 on fireworks, but some spend more than R5 000 on aerial display items.

“The crackers with bangs are the least popular, as we find that the public is now purchasing display fireworks and the demand for bangs has dropped by 75%. Crackers do not sell anymore,” he said.

However, he added that crackers such as the Tom Thumbs now cost R3 a pack, down from R10 in 1993.

“We normally watch the

fireworks display together and enjoy all the eats and treats.

Even though we are Christian,

we have no problems with any religion. All religion is a moral compass for life.”

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