Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy 4th - please hold the fireworks!

If you're considering having your very own fireworks show this evening, I encourage you to stop and think about:

neighborhood pets, including dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, chickens, ducks, etc. They will likely be frightened by the noise. Some may try to escape the sounds and will be lost and/or injured.

wildlife, who will also be frightened. I have read studies that songbirds in the vicinity of fireworks fall dead from the trees due to fright.

fire hazard, which is increased if your area has not had recent and prolific rainfall.

stray fireworks, if you use the kind that go up really high and are often actually illegal for home use. I have had these land in my pastures while I was sitting out with my horses. 

combat veterans, who may suffer from PTSD. Fireworks sound like explosives and rapid gunfire and may trigger flashbacks and other symptoms.

Most towns and cities put on firework shows. Why not go see the display there?

If you still intend to have your own show, please be courteous and let your neighbors know so they can protect their animals. 

For those who live with animals:

Keep cats and dogs inside for the night. Equines need to be assessed individually. I don't lock mine in stalls but I do give them access to their stalls, turn on the fans so the sounds of fireworks are muted, and give them the safest space I can to run around so they can work out their anxiety. I give Rescue Rmedy to all concerned, including myself.

A true celebration of independence respects the rights of the people and animals nearby. 

Happy 4th of July, all!


Grey Horse Matters said...

I hope lots of people with fireworks read this. My horses don't seem to get upset but my Maggie has been shaking for a few days between the thunderstorms and the early fireworks. Stay safe.

Liz said...

YES to all!

I will never understand celebrating the end of a war with the sounds of war.

billie said...

A, we survived another year. We had more this year than last and I sat out and talked the horses through it while they ate hay in their paddocks. I will probably need to put my request in mailboxes again next year!

billie said...

Liz, what a perfect one-liner about fireworks. I may quote you next year in my annual post!!

Liz said...

billie - quote away! I might use your line: "A true celebration of independence respects the rights of the people and animals nearby. " in a letter I intend to write to a 2 houses away neighbor who has a fireworks to the max thing every 4th and New Year's eve and this year...apparently they had a schedule conflict and unbeknownst to me had their 4th event on the 5th!

We survived but not much sleep 2 nights in a row. I won't write the letter until I'm rested :) !

billie said...

Deal! I'm sorry you got slammed on July 5th. I was a bit worried we might hear more last night but thankfully we did not!

Cassilee C said...

I do think we should be considerate of our animals needs, but please remember that animals are not the same as people. Just because you may not like fireworks does not mean that we should ban them because songbirds are dropping dead and other animals are having panic attacks. One of my horses is very afraid of gunshots. Does that mean that mean that we should never fire a gun in his hearing ever again?I do not think so. Whenever he gets upset, I do as much as I can to reassure him. If he chooses not to calm down, I am not going to endanger myself by trying soothe him when he's running up and down the fence. I'm sorry if I sound cruel and insensitive, but at times in our lives, we must suck it up. If animals get the same consideration and comfort, they need to abide somewhat to our rules.~Cassilee

billie said...

Cassilee, you are right. Animals are NOT the same as people. In most cases they are infinitely MORE sensitive to loud noises, and in many cases they cannot follow their natural instincts to leave the scary sounds because they are living in captivity imposed by the humans that "own" them.

Have you seen the research that showed that horses kept in barns with music playing constantly had a higher incidence of gastrointestinal ulcers?

I don't understand your line that just b/c I do not like fireworks we should not ban them because songbirds are dropping dead and other animals are having panic attacks. I'm not suggesting anyone ban them b/c I don't like them, but yes, I am suggesting that we ban them b/c they are killing and upsetting many numbers of animals.

Do some reading on the toxic chemicals in fireworks. We're not doing ourselves any favors either, if you want to just look at humans and how it affects US. What about our veterans who may be triggered because of the combat duty they did on behalf of our country. Should they just "suck it up?"

Thanks for your thoughts.

Cassilee C said...

I hold a great respect for veterans;my Grandpa was in the Air Force. I also know that warlike sounds have terrible affects on them. I would like to know how many people play music in their barns non-stop. And what about thunder in the wild? You cannot tell me that thunder can't be just as loud as fireworks. What do the animals do then? I would also like to point out that we are using many different poisons, chemicals, fertilizers and drugs in our daily lives. Should we not ban these as well?~Cassilee

billie said...

I have no way of knowing how many barns play nonstop music - I have certainly been in barns that played music constantly while I was there and it was too loud for ME, but less the horses who were stalled for 20 out of 24 hours.

For me, personally, thunder is different than fireworks - it can be very loud if lightning strikes close by, and it has on our farm, and yes, it did frighten not only the horses but us as well. Thankfully it is not usually a repeated sound - the distant thunder does not seem to bother them and does not bother me either.

We do not use poisons, chemicals, fertilizers, or drugs on our farm. We use diatomaceous earth for insects like fire ants and fleas, apple cider and white vinegar and baking soda for household cleaning, I compost all our food scraps, weeds, stall waste, manure and use that on the fields and garden beds, and no one in our human/animal family is on prescrption medication.

We have the ability to do research and make the best decisions we can for ourselves and our animals. That's what I try to do in all respects. If you make different choices, that's fine. On my farm we try to respect the animals, the people, wildlife, and the earth itself.

Cassilee C said...

Good work on your farm! I will always try to stay away from harmful garden chemicals and weed killers. I do believe in respecting all living things. But not to the point that that is all my life is based on. Each person should live their life as they see fit, but not the point that their choices are very harmful to others.~Cassilee

billie said...

Different priorities for us - a life based on respect for living beings, including animals, is to me the highest calling.

Cassilee C said...

I believe that we all should live our lives in a Godly way, respecting animals and Humans alike. Animals certainly deserve respect if they are behaving properly. My animals are not on any supplements, they are turned out to pasture, and have hay in the winter. During the summer and frequent riding, I will give them some type of supplement. But animals do not think like people.~Cassilee

billie said...

I think most animals are much clearer in the way they think than *we* are - and I think the research coming out from animal behavourists is starting to reveal that animals are capable of much more than anyone has realized. Certainly, the evidence is there that they are sentient beings capable of pain, grief, sadness, depression, and shutting down due to trauma. Which is why I feel the harsh methods are inhumane.

Humans tend to be driven at least in part by ego, some more than others. And people who have a need to dominate animals tend to have psychological issues - so I am extremely wary of anyone who uses extreme methods and focuses on dominance and control in their work with animals (or people for that matter).

Cassilee C said...

I think that some horses have some behavioral problems that are not going to be gentled out of them, but certainly not 'beat' out of them either. And no matter how much research they do, animals probably will never reach the understanding level of the human mind.~Cassilee

billie said...

I think there's something between gentling and beating if one is dealing with a dangerous behavior problem. There's a kind, respectful, no-nonsense approach - that is consistent and clear and fair to the horse.

WRT animals thinking like humans - I'm not really using the human brain as the epitome of the best thought process there is. :)

I have seen horses learn, solve complex problems, apply one set of learned info to a new situation, engage in complex social behavior, show joy, sadness, hurt feelings, fear, anger/annoyance. I see them exquisitely sensitive to their environment and able to hear/see things I cannot. Most of the "problems" horses have in relation to humans are created by humans - either by the way we keep them or the way we treat them. So for me it's only fair to find ways to work with them that respect their innate "horseness" and allow them to use their quite sophisticated brains.

Anyone who does eventing as an equine sport will tell you that you need to allow the horse to make the calls on the xc course - training that out of the horse is a dangerous thing to do and often results in tragic accidents. I have read the same about horses who work with cattle. The reason they're good at sorting and penning and rounding them up is that they learn to anticipate the cow's movement and intention.

So any training method that turns the horse into an automaton is imo a flawed method.