NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
By ALMA J. BUELVA
IF dogs and cats and other animals could speak, they would demand a total ban on the use of firecrackers, especially on New Year's Day.
This is the key message that the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) together with other animal welfare groups and environmental organizations tried to impart by staging a peaceful and informative rally to encourage the public to refrain from using firecrackers that severely scare and affect animals.
Held on Dec. 28 inside the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City, the rally was joined by dogs of all sizes -- from Chihuahuas to Alaskan Malamutes -- who all demand one thing: a total ban on firecrackers.
Ana Cabrera of PAWS advised the public to secure their pets especially on New Year's Eve or at the height of the expected lighting of fireworks and firecrackers nationwide.
Deemed hazardous to the environment, fireworks and firecrackers pose danger not only to humans but to animals as well. Dogs and cats, with their acute sense of hearing, suffer from the heightened booming noises.
To help pets cope during the revelry, Cabrera said pet owners should try to exercise their pets early on Dec. 31 to spend their energies so they would be less fidgety and scared when the clock hits midnight. She also said it would help if pet owners would let all their pets inside the house, even for this special evening only, to protect them from the noise and dangers that pyrotechnics can cause.
"Create white noise by playing soothing music to help calm your pets," she added.
Cabrera lamented that stray animals suffer the most when people hazardously use firecrackers because they have no safe place to hide. Sadly, some people even purposely harm strays by throwing lit firecrackers at them, she added.
Representatives from the Animal Kingdom Foundation, CARA Welfare and the EcoWaste Coalition also joined the activity to drum up awareness on the ill effects of pyrotechnics to humans, animals and the environment.
THE New Year celebrations bring the good and the bad. The good that comes with having a fresh start is marked by a lot of noise which is harmful to animals.
Dogs and cats with their acute sense of hearing suffer from “acoustical violence” from fireworks and other devices people use to create loud noise to usher the new year.
Once again, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the EcoWaste Coalition are appealing to the public to consider the safety of animals, especially the strays, and try to shield them from air and noise pollution and the high possibility of getting hurt when hit by firecrackers.
“Our four-legged friends, particularly cats and dogs, suffer in silence as firecrackers and fireworks of varying intensity are ignited in the belief that such practice can shoo away bad luck and pull in good energy and fortune,” said Anna Cabrera, executive director of PAWS, said.
Echoing Cabrera's appeal is Aileen Lucero, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, who cited that fireworks and firecrackers have negative impact on human and animal health, not to mention the environment.
Cabrera said pets get scared of the loud noise and, as a result, suffer from "appetite loss, upset stomach and confused sense of direction making animals to go astray or get injured.”
To have a peaceful and safe celebration, PAWS and EcoWaste suggested the following pointers:
* Persuade members of your household to make your home a “no firecracker” zone.
* Politely tell your neighbors not to light or throw firecrackers near your home.
* Exercise your pets during the days leading up to the New Year’s Eve and in the next morning when the festivities are over and the smoke has cleared.
* Give your pets a physical outlet for their pent up energy due to arousal and stress.
* Manage the environment so it is as relaxing as possible and as less stressful as you can make it.
* Provide your pet with a safe place to take temporary refuge. If possible, allow your pet to stay in a quiet room such as a bedroom.
* Close the windows, put the curtains down and play a relaxing music to neutralize the noise from the outside to help your pets feel secure.
* Ensure your pet’s access to drinking water. Make her/him pee or poo.
* Do not yell or laugh at your pet when she/he is cowering or shaking in fear. This is a natural response to a threat that they do not understand and cannot avoid.
The groups also reminded pet owners to keep shopping bags, cleaning solutions, tobacco products out of pets' reach. In addition, pets should not be fed holiday treats such as chocolate, fruit cake, nuts and alcoholic drinks.
* Laika and Felicette, pioneer pet astronauts