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MP wants ban on noisy fireworks
By Nick Mays

AN MP has called for a restriction on the sale of noisy fireworks to reduce the trauma experienced by animals.

David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West, said that the current limit of 120 decibels for fireworks bought over the counter was too high and that animals have more sensitive hearing than humans.

He called for a reduction to 97 decibels, the level of household noises such as doors slamming.

The current regulations, introduced in 2004, had made no difference to the number of calls which the RSPCA received about distressed animals, he said.

Indeed, the charity reported an 82% increase in the number of calls they receive between November 4 and 6, he added.

Introducing his Fireworks (Amendment) Bill to the House of Commons last month, Mr Amess cited the case of Claire Patterson of Newquay, Cornwall, who was walking her Jack Russell terriers Mabel and Travis on the beach earlier this year when a firework went off.

The dogs bolted and, although Ms Patterson found Travis, Mabel had run to the town centre, where she was run over and died.

Mr Amess added that his own dog Michael, who he described as the "laziest dog, not only in the country, in the world" had "practically jumped out of his skin" on hearing fireworks during Bonfire Night 2005.

Stressed dogs could suffer symptoms including loss of appetite, shaking, whimpering and self-harm, he said.

"These are things that occasionally Members of Parliament might also display," he added, to laughter.

Expressing a desire not to be seen as a "party pooper'" Mr Amess added that popular fireworks such as roman candles would not be banned under his proposals. His Bill received an unopposed first reading, but stands little chance of becoming law.