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Sunday 26 January 2020
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Letters to the Editor

NGOs preparing for fireworks this year

THE EDITOR: We the organisations listed here – TT Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Animal Welfare Network, Animals 360, TT Veterinary Association, Fireworks Use Sufferers, Animals Alive, The Animal Rescue Association – wish, yet again, to express our frustration and disappointment at having had to face another Christmas and New Year season marred by the damaging effects of fireworks on our community.

So many of us have been forced to relinquish any thought of relaxing and enjoying the season with family and friends because of our need to be continually vigilant for the safety of our own animals, and responsive to calls for assistance for animals injured, and lost.

The impact of the random and uncontrolled use of fireworks in our community takes an ongoing toll on our limited resources.

Given what appears to be the complete collapse of local government’s capacity to provide facilities and resources for animal control, the burden on animal welfare NGOs has grown, and affects our ability to fund our more progressive programmes such as subsidised spay and neuter, and support for responsible ownership.

We are fed up of the lack of response from the authorities who continue to sit on the fence on this issue, and the non-enforcement of the existing provisions of the Summary Offences Act, Chapter 11.02 that prohibits the use of fireworks “within any town.”

In 2017 animal welfare NGOs and the Veterinary Association were invited to present their findings to a joint select committee of Parliament “Inquiry into the adverse health effects of fireworks.”

The report of the committee was published on the Parliament website in May 2018 with a number of recommendations for greater regulation of usage by the public and as a matter of priority, greater enforcement of the provisions of the Summary Offences Act, Chapter 11.02 that prohibits the use of fireworks in and outside of towns.

A key short-term recommendation also promoted the collaboration between the police and the regional corporations to identify and manage suitable spaces for community fireworks displays, surely a more progressive approach to the much vaunted “fostering of community spirit” promoted by one fireworks distributor and what is now the inflicting of unwarranted abuse by some in the community on their neighbours.

It is clear to us a more direct approach to action is required this new year and we as a group intend to prepare ourselves for 2020.

SITA KURUVILLA

chairman of council

T&TSPCA

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