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PETA: With fireworks on hold, it’s a good time to switch to laser light shows that don’t frighten wildlife | READER COMMENTARY

People watch the annual Macy's 4th of July fireworks show from Queens, New York on July 4, 2017. Many communities have already cancelled such shows out of concern for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. File.
People watch the annual Macy's 4th of July fireworks show from Queens, New York on July 4, 2017. Many communities have already cancelled such shows out of concern for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. File. (AFP via Getty Images)

With fireworks shows being cancelled due to COVID-19, PETA encourages cities to look into laser light shows which can be safely projected on a large surface, allowing spectators to drive in (“Howard County cancels Fourth of July fireworks at Columbia lakefront due to coronavirus pandemic,” May 8).

Fireworks frequently cause wildfires, contaminate water with the carcinogen perchlorate that is found in explosives and leave behind unexploded shells, tiny pieces of plastic and other debris.

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During the blasts, startled deer and other animals often run into roadways and birds flee their nests, abandoning their chicks. Fireworks were blamed for the deaths of 5,000 birds in Arkansas after red-winged blackbirds and European starlings took off in panicked flight. The night-blind birds crashed into houses, signs and other obstacles, causing blunt-force trauma and death.

Dogs scared by the deafening explosions have been known to break chains, jump fences, tear through screen doors and even leap through glass windows in an attempt to escape the noise. Terrified cats often bolt as well and animal shelters report an increase in lost animals turning up in the days following fireworks displays.

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In addition to being kinder to the environment and safer for animals, laser light shows are less expensive to produce and provide just as much “ooh” and “aww” for spectators.

Michelle Kretzer, Norfolk, Va.

The writer is employed by The PETA Foundation.

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