I hate fireworks.
There. I said it. But I'm not the only one who prefers peace on earth to the sound of bombs bursting in air during July 4th (and other) celebrations — there are veterans suffering from PTSD, quaking dogs, freaked out cats, spooked wildlife, frantic cattle, and wild-eyed horses who share my aversion, all traumatized by screaming, flashing explosions. Many endure lasting psychological, emotional and physical repercussions.
My two steers hate fireworks, too, as I experienced last year when Rupert and Robin were subjected to loud, percussive-type fireworks for the first time.
We live a half-mile from Dorset Village, and there are horses and other livestock nearby. My normally placid, friendly animals were terrified, even though I did everything I could to keep them calm. I feared for their safety and was afraid they would blast right through the fence in panic. The explosions intensified and finally subsided, leaving a toxic, sulfurous pall in the summer air. And then another party down the road started their display. It was a long night for us.
When communities celebrate with fireworks, animal aid organizations experience an increased number of strays as terrified, disoriented animals run away to escape the detonations of fireworks. (In Dorset, if you find a lost animal, call Animal Control at 362-7322; if you lose an animal, call State Police Dispatch at 442-5421; in Manchester, call the town police.)
In Vermont, fireworks are supposed to be used by permit only, but lots of private citizens like to ignite pyrotechnics, too, legally or not. Noise is not restricted to an intense half hour or so after nightfall on a single evening, so it's hard to brace for it. This is all I'm asking: Could you please consider NOT having fireworks, for safety's sake, for the animals' sake, the environment's sake, and party on without them? Or if you must, might you select ones that don't scream and make alarmingly loud explosions? A town in Italy has mandated the use of "silent fireworks," such as the ones produced by Setti Fireworks, in order to respect and safeguard their animals. My appeal to the American Pyrotechnics Association is yet unanswered, but surely there is no reason why we in the USA can't do this! But for now, what about sparklers, or a laser show?
Revelers, please watch the roads for frightened, runaway animals, large and small.
This weekend, Rupert, Robin and I will be hunkered down in our run-in bunker, with plenty of apples and hay, for these have calming and distracting powers. Last Fourth of July, as our hearts regained their normal rhythms, we watched the smoke dispel, and the fireflies glittered and zoomed, the crickets chirped, and there was even a shooting star.
Ahhh! It was beautiful.
Laura Yanne is a resident of Dorset. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of The Manchester Journal.