A Vancouver Island Horse Rescue is calling for a ban on fireworks ahead of Halloween night.
Rebecca Sanesh of Humanity for Horses Rescue and Rehab says the lights are particularly frightening for horses or other large animals and could force them into a fight or flight response, endangering others.
“If you get them in that fight or flight mode you cannot stop them,” says Sanesh. “There’s is just no stopping a horse or a cow when their brain has switched over to flight mode. And they’re powerful at that point. People are going to get hurt.”
Sanesh says the rescinded firework ban has already lead to the usage of pyrotechnics around her rescue.
“I put a post up earlier hoping that all fireworks were banned. I heard that they were, but then we get this little bit of rain, and everyone is lighting them off like crazy,” says Sanesh.
Fireworks earlier in the week, lead to an injury that required a vet visit and affected some of the other horses.
“I’ve got a 40-year-old, ancient pony whose partially blind and hard of hearing. She was in her nice little shelter and the fireworks started going off like crazy and she ran to her panic area,” says Sanesh. “We have another horse. We’re not sure what happened to him. If he ended up getting kicked or if he found one nail that was exposed. He sliced his head about 5 inches long, and the vet came out […] The horses were just terrified.”
She’s bought bales of hay to stack around the property to hopefully block the lights from frightening the horses tonight but is bracing herself for what she believes to be a long night ahead.
“I’m hoping that’s going to be enough to prevent them from running wild,” says Sanesh. “If a horse ends up getting through a fence and I get them all running, then I’m going to have 15 to 20 horses running out on [the road]. That’s going to be a disaster. It’s going to cause accidents, people are going to get hurt. People just don’t get it. This is a farming community, not a city.”
She is clear that she has no problem with the fireworks in larger urban centres like Victoria or Vancouver, just in rural areas with farming animals.
She says the fireworks don’t just affect animals, but also those dealing with stress-related conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or those dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
“Somebody had responded to one of the posts saying that they had PTSD and that they really have to concentrate and focus and get the courage up to just get through Halloween night,” says Sanesh. “That’s just sad. I think people need to be a little more compassionate.”