Sainsbury’s reignites an explosive argument | Blaise Tapp

There are calls to ban fireworks to spare animals and old people the distress Picture: Sarah Standing (180814-8708)
There are calls to ban fireworks to spare animals and old people the distress Picture: Sarah Standing (180814-8708)
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If you live anywhere near civilisation there is every chance your evenings are currently punctuated with the dull, constant crackling of fireworks.

It is a soundtrack that most of us have grown up with and become used to.

But in recent years several online petitions calling for restrictions on the sale of pyrotechnics have attracted hundreds of thousands of signatures.

Such is the shift in the public’s attitude, Sainsbury's felt confident enough to announce it would stop selling fireworks.

Much was made of how the decision was taken due to the distress that firework noise causes animals and the elderly.

In PR terms this was an open goal – as a nation of pet lovers, any step taken to protect our four-legged friends will be widely welcomed across all four corners of these islands.

Although Brits prefer dogs more, we are also reasonably fond of old people so Sainsbury’s played a blinder when they included them as another reason to ditch rockets and sparklers.

While this decision has been welcomed by animal charities, the question has already been asked whether the supermarket giant really did make this headline-grabbing move with Tiddles and Rover in mind.

One representative of the fireworks industry suggested this high profile ban happened because fireworks don’t make Sainsbury’s huge profits.

He might have a point. When was the last time a large corporation took a significant commercial decision that bosses seriously thought might cost it serious dough? I had forgotten they even sold fireworks.

Regardless of the motives, the decision has reignited a very explosive argument as there is a growing feeling the only place one should be able to witness an exploding Big Daddy is an organised display.

Some of the best displays I have been to were in suburban back gardens, largely because they don’t drag on too long, and the grub and booze are invariably in a different league to that served up by people in hi-viz jackets at the rugby club.

The rules are clear - it is against the law to let off fireworks after 11pm, and 1am on New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year and you certainly can’t set off bangers in the middle of your cul-de-sac in June.

There are also rules restricting the time of year shops can sell fireworks, although this won’t be enough for some, including those who describe themselves as animal lovers.

I appreciate the affection many have for their pets and understand why they want to keep their furry family members safe and well.

What this doesn’t mean, however, is that we stop doing something we have always done, particularly when it is done within the law.