01/17/14 Amendment or Addition to Explosive Substances Act

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Ministry of Internal affairs of Republic of Croatia
Mr. Ranko Ostojic, Minister
Ulica grada Vukovara 33
10000 Zagreb

January 17, 2014

Subject: Amendment or Addition to Explosive Substances Act

Dear Mr. Ostojic,

We are writing to you regarding the problem of using explosive substances for holiday celebrations and events, especially during the time just before the New Year, which creates a great danger and discomfort to children, animals and even adults and contributes to environmental pollution and property destruction.

Following many enquiries and requests for information from citizens about runaway pets and disturbances caused by shooting of explosive substances, we started a petition to act as a voice of those citizens, to ban using firecrackers and other explosive substances of grades II and III.

Apart from being a danger to health and lives of people and animals, it is important to mention that, when using explosive substances without supervision, there have been cases of deaths in companion animals from heart attacks caused by distress due to the shooting. Parents of small children and pet owners become prisoners as they can only go out in the mornings. Many animals run away from their homes in fear or they escape from their leash during a walk and look for shelter in panic, and whilst panicking many of them die, having been hit by a car or from hunger because they are never found. Animals are being given tranquillisers because this agony lasts for a few days before everything returns back to normal. Is it really necessary to ruin the festivities for some citizens in order for the others to be able to celebrate in this way?

It is clear to us that people enjoy looking at firework colours and therefore we think that this should still be enjoyed. Our wish is not a ban on explosive substances of grade I or public firework displays, but appropriate usage that will not cause anybody's suffering. In order to achieve this we suggest to follow the example of our close neighbour Italy that has, in over 850 Italian cities and boroughs, banned firecracker shootings in 2011 and introduced a fine for violators. In Torino this ban has been made primarily due to many animal deaths caused by heart attacks; around 5,000 companion animals die every year from heart attacks caused by firecracker explosions. A ban on grade II and III explosive substances is active during the rest of the year, and it should stay active for the whole year, without exception, because there is no sense in inviting citizens to "Peace and Goodness" as the campaign says, and at the same time enabling absolute contempt of the same campaign.

Even though we wrote to you on June 5, 2012, with reference to an amendment or addition to the Explosive Substances Act, we are again asking you to do the same.

The Explosive Substances Act regulates sales of pyrotechnics, when they can be used and restrictions in terms of age, however, due to the sheer number of pyrotechnics being used, in practice it is difficult to supervise adherence to the provisions of this Act. Even actions in line with the Act cannot prevent handling mistakes and unwanted, often serious injuries.

Amendment to the Explosive Substances Act, Header VIII Usage, would contribute to noise reduction and diminish the suffering of people and animals if usage of firecrackers and other explosive substances of grades II and III were banned also during the period of December 27 to January 1. New Year's Eve would still be marked with a public fireworks display and grade I pyrotechnics. The fun would still be there, citizen and animal safety would increase and noise would be reduced.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards,

Luka Oman
President of Animal Friends

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