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Ban the Bang

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UPDATE 23 JAN 2024

Beauty Without Cruelty (South Africa) shared the costs of the legal team including attorney Dawood Jaffer, in the matter of the Waterfront fireworks where the local SPCA was the applicant / plaintiff and BWC was a co-complainant.
We were not successful, and we have yet to hear from the judge as to the reasons, although it was stated that ‘the rights of the consumer must be balanced against those of the animals’.
We are, however, not done. We do need your help.  Please sign and share.

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After years of encouraging the Waterfront to effect responsible change, we received the following:

From: Donald Kau <dkau@waterfront.co.za>

Sent: Wednesday, 23 September 2020 15:46

Dear Toni

 We can most certainly reassure you that we’ve heeded the call to do away with fireworks altogether and are committed to marking the start of the New Year’s celebration in a safe (given the Covid concerns), and environmentally friendly manner. We’ve heard the call and have understood the need for responsible change.  

The V&A Waterfront has received a permit for NYE or season fireworks, and we most strenuously object on several grounds.

•   It is understood that the beam of light they have used previously has been a dismal failure. The Waterfront has had eleven months to look at exciting, more environmentally and fauna friendly options.

•   To this end, in earlier discussions, Beauty Without Cruelty sent them several links to modern, exciting options including synchronised drones and skydivers, both of which make a spectacular display.

•    The current bylaws make it all but illegal for anyone to set fireworks. We do not need fireworks, or pyrotechnics, which emulate war.  Fireworks are arguably illegal, because of either the Explosives Act, By-Laws, or the Animals Protection Act.

•   There is ample information to suggest that fireworks are environmentally unfriendly, from manufacture and transport through to air, noise, water and land pollution, human health, and injury as well as the inevitable wild and domestic animal trauma and injury costs of fireworks.

•   Studies emphasise the high incidence of fireworks-related injuries during holiday and religious periods, and are a global concern.

•  Fireworks are most certainly not environmentally responsible, as the entire process from manufacturing (including mining for raw materials) to transport, air, noise and water pollution, plus the consequent litter, is a complete pollution cycle. Fireworks sound carries, especially over water, and a breeze will carry the particulate matter and gasses downwind. Anyone who considers themselves even slightly environmentally conscious cannot accept the use of fireworks.

Furthermore,

1.  Nesting birds can be so disoriented as to not find their nests and nestlings.

2.  Animals have extremely sensitive hearing and unlike thunder, which they can feel approaching, fireworks can cause terror and resulting injury and death in their efforts to escape.

3.  Animal welfare groups become inundated with injured and lost animals. They already are under pressure due to poor animal care in general.

4. The onus is not on the ‘owners’ to ensure their animals safety.

5. The pollution and poisons in the fireworks can be swept downwind causing further problems in other areas.

6.  Animals and birds ingest fireworks fallout and are poisoned.

7.  Sound travels at night and fireworks discharged in one area can cause problems kilometres away, directly in contrast with the animal protection laws / fireworks laws as they pertain to animals.

8. There are many humans suffering PTSD, who suffer through fireworks.

  • Animal welfare agencies and hospitals see the effects of fireworks, although a record detailing admissions for same has not been kept.

(Animals Protection Amendment Act, No. 7 of 1972 Animals Protection Amendment Act, No. 54 of 1983 Animals Protection Amendment Act no. 20 of 1985 Animals Protection Second Amendment Act, No. 84 of 1985 Protection of Animals Amendment Act, No.7 of 1991 Animal Matters Amendment Act, No. 42 of 1993)

ACT

To consolidate and amend the laws relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals.

2. OFFENCES IN RESPECT OF ANIMALS – (1) Any person who:

 (a )overloads, overdrives, overrides, ill-treats, neglects, infuriates, tortures or maims or cruelly beats, kicks, goads or terrifies any animal;

  • Many dogs suffer terribly from severe psychological distress as a result of the stress that they suffer when fireworks are being let off in the vicinity, and one can assume that other species suffer the same.  Whether one likes animals or not, knowingly causing suffering, injuries and death which occur as a direct result of fireworks, is unacceptable, contravenes the APA as above and therefore there is no area where fireworks should be used.
  •  The ears of most animals are considerably more sensitive than the human ear. Therefore, the explosion of a firework (which can emit sounds of up to 190 decibels, a full 110 to 115 decibels higher than the 75- to 80-decibel range, where damage to the human ear begins) not only is proportionately more disturbing to an animal, it can also affect an animal’s acute sense of hearing. And animals who are too close to firework explosions often suffer significant burns and eye damage.
  • Fireworks generate a noise level higher than the noise from gunshots (140 decibels) and low-level flying jets (100 decibels). Irreversible ear damage, such as tinnitus and loss of hearing in humans starts at the 80-decibel range.

Bylaw

15: No person shall (b) in a public place do anything which may endanger the life or safety of any person or animal, including—

(ii) without the prior written permission of the City or otherwise than in accordance with any conditions determined by the City when granting such written permission or in contravention of any other applicable by-law, to use explosives or discharge fireworks;

(iii) except for a lawful purpose to discharge any firearm or air, gas or alarm gun or pistol unless—

(cc) the firearm or air, gas or alarm gun or pistol, or fireworks in question is discharged for a purpose and at a time and place approved in writing by the City.

But these exemptions regarding fireworks are in direct conflict with the national animal protection laws which clearly state no person shall terrify an animal.

For these reasons, there are no acceptable reasons to offer a permit for fireworks.