Wildlife often abandon their homes and nests in terror. Wild birds have died, sometimes in mass fatalities as they fly, disoriented and in terror, through the dark, sometimes knocking into one another, into power lines or buildings; sometimes suffering heart attacks in fear. Wild animals often flee in terror across crowded roadways where they are hit by cars in higher numbers.
The pollutants from fireworks can also cause longer-term harm to animals.
It’s ironic that a tradition of lights that symbolizes joy and wonder to so many also carries this dark side, one that can likewise affect our fellow humans who have PTSD or certain life experiences, like war veterans.
As a society, we need to reexamine whether our many traditions still serve us, or whether it might be time to evolve any of them into more compassionate customs. Given the growing body of evidence around fireworks, it becomes more apparent with every passing year that fireworks are a tradition needing a closer look.
One of the best ways to make a difference and celebrate the democracy of the United States is to talk to your local government officials about the multiple ways fireworks can cause harm, and call for a move to more compassionate traditions that are just as joyful and filled with wonder. Another important way to make a difference is to attend and support kinder and more humane celebrations that may already exist in your community, like laser light show displays, or, best of all, to stay home with your companion animals who may need your moral support and reassuring presence.
And of course, plan ahead to keep your companion animal family members safe this year and to reduce their stress. Here are some tips.