NON-PROFIT organisation Ban Animal Trading (Bat) has been hosting initiatives around the country all year long to raise awareness on the harmful effects of fireworks, especially big bang fireworks, on humans, children, epilepsy patients, autism patients, wildlife, and the environment and about all types of animal cruelty in general.Bat is an animal rights organisation that exists to end animal exploitation through facilitating positive and meaningful change through public activism.Bat volunteer Saihashna Rajkumar said the event held on October 18 was the seventh in a series of protests that the organisation hosted in KwaZulu-Natal, starting in Pietermaritzburg.Rajkumar said that the protest was the fourth one in 2019 and it was held in Phoenix, Durban. Two more protests took place on October 26 and October 27 in Durban. All these protests were legal and peaceful.“We were pleasantly surprised at the great deal of positive responses and support that we got from the cars driving by. Slowly but surely the times are changing, and people are becoming more aware and more compassionate in their choices. However, it was also disappointing to see a poor turnout from the public when these protests were held. “Every year, without fail, thousands of people complain about fireworks on social media but, when it’s time to act and create awareness in public, no one comes out to do that.” said Rajkumar, who added that, for domestic animals, stray animals, farm animals, wild animals, shelter animals, babies, birds, and epilepsy and autism patients, and so many more, change is not happening fast enough. Futhermore, she said Bat will continue doing protests and educating the public until there is a total ban on big bang fireworks. She noted that there are many silent alternatives to fireworks and people need to be more considerate and mindful when purchasing and celebrating.“Every year, people who indulge in fireworks will say that pet owners must take care of and sedate their pets during the designated times for fireworks. Sure, pet owners do that but there also many stray animals and wildlife that don’t have someone taking of them and are not in shelters, so what happens to them? Every species is different, and sedation doesn’t work on all of them.“Babies and epilepsy patients are affected by fireworks too so how are they going to be constantly sedated? “People who indulge in fireworks should make donations to their local animal shelters to take of animals when fireworks are being sent off,” she said. In speaking about fireworks during celebrations, she said: “There are always by-laws put in place by all local metro police stations but, when these by-laws are not followed, complaints are sent to the SAPS but the SAPS never comes out to do anything. Excuses are always made, and it frustrates the public a lot. “Please choose to be kind to all earthlings by leaving the big bang fireworks out of your celebrations in the coming months,” she urged.In conclusion, with the festive season approaching, Rajkumar urged the public to make the compassionate choices and leave big bangs aside. Bat will be doing more protests and would really appreciate support from the public. The public is welcome to make their own posters and join Bat in spreading awareness. Check the Ban Animal Trading South Africa Facebook page for details regarding the next protest.