niagara falls fireworks

Niagara Falls' plan for 144 nights of fireworks has animal welfare activists furious

After a couple of years without pyrotechnic festivities, Niagara Falls is preparing to welcome back a dazzling extravaganza of 144 consecutive nights of fireworks from May into October.

Well, it seems not all of Niagara Falls is welcoming these plans, including animal rights activists at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) with major concerns about how this nightly spectacle will affect wildlife, pets, and others sensitive to these displays.

In a letter penned by PETA president Ingrid Newkirk on Tuesday to Niagara Falls Tourism president and CEO, Janice Thomson, the animal rights organization is urging that plans for nightly firework celebrations be swapped out for a drone or laser show, adding that such a move would be "kind to wildlife, animal companions, and vulnerable humans, including those who suffer from PTSD."

"These nightly booms and blasts would scare wildlife out of their nests, spew toxic particles, drive terrified dogs out of their yards, and send veterans back to the worst days of war," said Newkirk.

"PETA is urging Niagara Falls Tourism to call off this months-long bombardment and launch a show that's fun, not frightening."

The letter suggests that an alternative form of celebration involving lasers or drones could still proceed nightly without endangering or inconveniencing any "noise-sensitive wildlife, domestic animals, children, veterans, and elderly people."

Newkirk cites an instance of a fireworks display in Beebe, Arkansas causing "more than 5,000 dead or dying red-winged blackbirds" to fall from the sky.

And even though she may have picked one of the least likeable birds as an example, it's still extremely upsetting to know that these animals lost their lives so people could see a good show.

In other cases, Newkirk says that "startled birds have abandoned their nests and crashed into homes, windows, and each other."

Waterfowl native to the area would be put at risk, the PETA president citing studies that discover birds fly en masse to high altitudes during firework events, and can stay aloft long enough to leave them exhausted and at risk of falling from the sky.

Even when they don't present a risk of death, the letter warns that "loud fireworks displays cause a great deal of stress, anxiety, and fear in wild animals and others."

Anyone who has lived with dogs or cats knows that a fireworks show can cause our furry friends great distress, and pet owners who live close to the falls are now preparing to be comforting their animals on 40 per cent of nights in an entire calendar year.

The letter closes with a plea to Niagara Falls Tourism to "please consider cancelling this fireworks series," though with the first of the year's free displays less than a month away, starting May 20 at 10:00 p.m., it might be a little late in the game for a less disruptive show to be planned and implemented.

Lead photo by

Nick SAM

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