Firework nights to go off with a ‘shh’

Harlow Town fireworks display

A charity is calling for the introduction of silent fireworks after a horse at Harlow Sanctuary was put down as a result of stress from a nearby firework display.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) discovered that the horse had seriously injured its foot after it panicked during a firework display. PETA contacted Coun Jon Clempner, the leader of Harlow Council, to help put a stop to the harmful firework noises.

Councillor Emma Toal, Portfolio Holder for Youth & Community, said: ‘Cinders the horse who was tragically injured last year was based at the Redwings Horse Sanctuary at Ada Cole, which is in Epping on the border of Harlow and nowhere near Harlow Town Park. We encourage any local organisations who are organising events over the firework weekend to ensure that they are advertised in the local area so any pet owners can make preparations to ensure their pets health and wellbeing.’

PETA has suggested using silent fireworks. Elisa Allen, Director, PETA UK said: ‘Currently, almost all fireworks displays already include some silent elements. But there are now more – and better – quieter fireworks available than ever before, in large part because of the increasing demand for silent or quieter displays.’

Silent fireworks are a brilliant way to keep the fun and still protect wildlife, Elisa added: ‘Loud fireworks also scare wildlife, especially deer, into running onto roads, where some are hit and killed by vehicles. Birds have been known to abandon their nests, leaving their eggs vulnerable to predators.’

Harlow Town Park bonfire

Harlow Town Park recently had their annual bonfire and fireworks night which was a lively and exciting event as usual. Councillor Emma Toal said: “The event has always taken place in the Town Park near to Pets’ Corner. With the event running for many years we have established procedures in place to ensure the animals’ wellbeing. All animals are kept indoors during the evening and are monitored throughout and after the event.

By using only silent fireworks, everyone can get involved: Elisa said: ‘They also offer a peaceful celebration for noise-sensitive children, elderly people, and individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder – who are sensitive to and can be deeply disturbed by the noise of the explosives – and they don’t put viewers at risk of sustaining hearing loss.’

Counc Emma Toal added: “We thank PETA for taking the time to write to us with their suggestions and concerns. It will not be possible to change the display as arrangements for this year’s event have already been finalised. However, the safety of the public attending our events and any animals located nearby has been and remains our number one priority. Harlow’s event is well established running for 30 plus years and it is one of the most popular free entry fireworks display in the local area. Our public display means that many local families can celebrate this occasion together in safety. It also encourages families not to organise their own events at home or hold unauthorised displays on public land, which would pose a risk to themselves or animals.

‘Every year we receive positive feedback from local families who attend the event and we pride ourselves on ensuring we listen to this feedback so we can continue to make improvements to future events.’


PETA are a charity working to protect the rights of all animals. Donations can be given from the website This will immediately go to aiding in the protection of animal cruelty and deaths from places including laboratories; factory farms the fur industry and circuses.

If you live in an area with conventional fireworks displays, the following tips will help keep animal companions safe:

  • Leave your animals at home during the celebrations – never take them with you to watch the displays.
  • Never leave animals tethered or chained outside, as they can hang themselves if they leap over a fence while trying to run from the noise.
  • Close your windows and curtains. Turn on a radio that’s tuned to a classical-music station or turn on the TV to help drown out the sound of the fireworks.
  • Make sure that your animal companion is wearing a collar or a harness with an up-to-date identification tag – just in case.
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Charlotte Langham

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