When detonations occur and flashes of light illuminate the sky on the evening of the national holiday, many domestic and wild animals panic. August 1 fires can even be a death trap for small animals.
When the wood starts to burn – which surprises the animals – they have no escape route due to the sudden gathering of people around the fire. In the worst case, the animals die in excruciating pain
As soon as one night elapses between stacking and firing, small nocturnal animals such as hedgehogs or mice can sometimes take refuge in the pile of wood. Animal welfare organizations therefore advise stacking it just before it burns.
If this is not possible, for example in the case of a very large hearth, a protective fence should be erected around the fire. This prevents small animals from hiding in the pile. The fence should not be removed until one to two hours before the fire.
Firecrackers also concerned
It is well known that the detonations of firecrackers and fireworks are also very stressful for animals. According to the organization Quatre pattes, wild animals, especially deer and hares, jump at every unusual noise. When rockets slam into the sky, animals can panic.
In extreme cases, this can lead to abortions or panic flight leading to death, according to the organization. Furthermore, it has been proven, according to the Swiss Animal Protection, that frightened waterbirds sometimes no longer return to their breeding or moulting grounds.
Do not console frightened dogs
Pets are obviously also not very well protected against extreme exposure to light and noise. Cats, for example, should not be left outside on this day to prevent them from running away in panic. Inside, the rooms should be darkened. The television or radio should also be turned on so that the animals can isolate themselves from the outside. In addition, retirement possibilities should be created.
Four Paws advises dog owners to take their last walk in the early evening and, if necessary, leave town with their pet. Also, anxious dogs should not be comforted, as this will reinforce their insecurity.
On the contrary, dog owners should ignore the fearful behavior of the animal as much as possible in order to display the necessary calm. Special treats can also be used to make the dog understand that the noise has something positive about it.
Small animals like rabbits or guinea pigs should have extra hiding places in their enclosure. If kept outdoors, the enclosure should be turned so that it faces a wall, for example.
Measures already taken
This year, the weather comes to the rescue of the animals. In many cantons, due to the drought, it is forbidden to use rockets and fireworks. This is particularly the case in those of Neuchâtel, Vaud, Jura, Fribourg, Aargau, Thurgau, or even Saint-Gall, Glarus, as well as in certain cities and towns in Zurich and Graubünden. In some localities, only private fireworks are prohibited, while official communal fireworks are permitted.