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Following is a letter I am sending to my local newspaper. I urge as many animal activists as possible to do likewise. You are welcome to use information in this letter, but I think it might be best not to use it exactly as it appears.


I just received a request for a donation from the Amherst Leisure Services for this yearís fireworks event. Let me tell you why I am against fireworks.

Fireworks explosions, which can emit sounds of up to 190 decibels, a full 110 to 115 decibels higher than the 75- to 80-decibel range where damage to the human ear begins. Irreversible ear damage, such as tinnitus and loss of hearing in humans starts at the 80-decibel range. The ears of most animals are considerably more sensitive than the human ear. Not only is it proportionately more disturbing to an animal, it can also diminish an animal's acute sense of hearing.

Dogs, cats, and other companion animals don't understand the terrifying loud bangs. Fireworks bring confusion, anxiety, fear, and blind panic to animals who, in an effort to escape the frightening detonations, can get into all sorts of trouble.

Humane societies across North America report that after fireworks displays they are swamped with calls about lost dogs and cats. Dogs have responded to fireworks explosions by breaking through windows and screens and are brought to shelters with paws bloodied from running or torn skin from tearing through back yards, fences and shrubbery. Some are crippled or killed by cars.

Guide dogs are sometimes left so terrorized by the explosions that they suffer severe emotional distress and are unable to assist their companions.

After a loud bang, most birds fly away in fright, and nesting mothers of flocks sometimes cannot find their own nests upon return, endangering the well-being of nestlings.

Dr. David Noakes, a zoologist at the University of Guelph, Ontario, points out that the combined responses to fireworks of panic and disorientation can result in birds' flying into a building or too far out to sea.

Fireworks produce light, noise and air pollution. The explosions of fireworks also release poisonous chemicals and particle-laden smoke, which contaminate the environment. Wildlife living downwind from fireworks displays are exposed to the hazards of these contaminants, as are domesticated animals and humans with asthma.

Farmed animals do not escape the hazards of fireworks. Dr. Ian Duncan, a University of Guelph ethnologist, has demonstrated that laying hens show extremely low egg production the day after fireworks and the eggs are often malformed.

The city of Carrollton, Texas, decided to cancel its 1999 July Fourth fireworks celebration after a fireworks test indicated that the lights and sounds disturbed egrets at a nearby rookery.

There is another consideration that Iíve been thinking about. Fireworks mimic bombs and glorify war. Yes, they can be beautiful to behold, but at what cost? Surely at this time when we are engaged in a horrific war and thousands are being maimed by exploding bombs, we should be able to find a less violent way to commemorate our nationís birth.

Using information from: Ohio Animal Defense League