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Brussels is in favour of 'silent fireworks', says animal welfare minister

15:41 10/01/2016

Animal welfare organisation Gaia is urging all Belgian municipalities to prohibit the use of fireworks by individuals, and to use only 'silent fireworks' during organised events. So-called silent fireworks make less noise than the traditional version, causing less disturbance to animals. While Brussels state secretary for animal welfare Bianca Debaets supports Gaia's request, she says that ultimately it is the municipalities that decide, writes Brusselnieuws.

Fireworks can be devastating to animals, causing them to panic, flee and even die of heart attacks. Gaia is therefore calling for a general ban on fireworks use by individuals in Belgium, as is already the case in 16 municipalities in Limburg and in Dilbeek.

In a letter to all of the Belgian municipalities, Gaia director Michel Vandenbosch also requested that the fireworks shows organised by local authorities use the silent type of fireworks. ''That would be a good compromise, and avoid inflicting pain and suffering on animals,'' he told La Dernière Heure.

The low-noise fireworks are no doubt in the best interest of the animals, says Debaets, who is not in favour of a total ban on the use of fireworks by individuals, but is in favour of only allowing the quieter version.

The animal welfare minister, however, has no authority when it comes to fireworks, which are under municipal control. “But I am in permanent contact with the 19 municipalities, and I think that this idea has a good chance of being discussed,” she said.

Written by Robyn Boyle