Having just gone through New Year and seen the desperate posts of animal rightists and pet carers on social media, living out the New Year’s Eve hell with their pets, this particular ‘no-no’ is top of mind.
I am fortunate to have 3 dogs that seem immune to loud bangs and noises, but in my parental home I watched my dad year after year – Diwali, New Years and Guy Fawkes – create a ‘cave’ under the dining room table for his Belgian shepherd. My dad and Beluga would hole themselves up for these events for the night/s. My dad cradling his shivering wild eyed dog, while she endured the war zone of bangs through the filter of strong tranquilizers. The tranquilizers left her groggy for days, the lack of sleep left everyone frazzled, and my parents never had the luxury of celebration of these commonplace events.
Each year pet shelters around the globe post gruesome pics of animals that have impaled themselves on gates and fences, burns from fireworks, glass cuts from jumping through windows, torn ears from squeezing through tiny gaps and broken limbs from frantic scrambling. To draw from an analogy used by Russell Brand, animals do not seem to be able to distinguish between the apocalypse and a firework display.
Those crazy Chinese lanterns seem to now be the sugar coated version for ‘concerned’ citizens – you know the ones that you light and let float up in the sky blazing with your good thoughts attached to them, in the hope that this will be the answer to your resolutions and prayers? Don’t kid yourself that you have taken a noble step against the use of fireworks just because you have eliminated the bangs. I watched a Chinese lantern float up in the sky one night, ignite a tree and disturb a whole flock of sleeping Egyptian geese who narrowly escaped being burned to death as they tumbled out of the tree in the dark, dazed and confused.
So why still support this hideous practice when you know the consequences? Because the lights are pretty? Because it’s got entertainment value and it doesn’t directly affect you? Because it supports your religious practices? Aren’t the guiding principles of religion supposed to support a good, kind, compassionate way to live your life?
Come on, there are so many other ways to entertain yourself that doesn’t involve misery to half our planet, get creative! This is really an area you wouldn’t have to sacrifice much to make the world a better place.