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Sainsbury’s becomes latest major supermarket to stop selling fireworks following concern for pets

Jessica Carpani
Sainsbury’s becomes the first major supermarket to stop selling fireworks following concern for pets - www.alamy.com

Sainsbury’s has become the latest major supermarket to stop selling fireworks following concern for pets. 

The supermarket had said it will carry no fireworks in any of its 2,300 branches this year.

The move has been welcomed by pet lovers and animal rights charities, who said the loud bangs and flashing lights can be distressing for animals.  

A Sainsbury's spokesperson confirmed they would not be selling fireworks this year, instead offering “glow sticks” to festive customers. 

They said: "Fireworks are no longer available in our stores but customers can continue to choose from a range of seasonal products, such as glow sticks and light up spinning wands."

The supermarket follows in the footsteps of the Co-Op, which stopped selling pyrotechnics five years ago.

Sally, of north west London, Tweeted her thanks to the supermarket and said: "Been informed my local branch in Stanmore won't be selling fireworks this year due to the distress it causes our pets & wildlife.

“Can't thank you enough as my dog is beside herself with fear at these times."

Sainsbury's official Twitter account replied: "Hey Sally, thanks! We won't be selling fireworks in any of our stores this year. Hope this helps!"

Sally also urged other stores to follow suit. 

Tescos confirmed to The Telegraph that they would continue to sell them while Waitrose, who stock fireworks, had “no plans to change our current position”. 

A spokesperson for Aldi said: “We understand the importance of animal welfare when celebrating with fireworks, which is why our sales materials include reminders that pets should be kept safe indoors along with advice on how to make them feel secure.’

An Asda spokesperson said: “We know that many of our customers love fireworks, but we also know that some customers and their pets don’t like the noise, which is why this year we have launched a collection of low noise fireworks so that everyone can still enjoy the show.”

Lidl and Morrisons were also contacted. 

Sainsbury’s becomes the first major supermarket to stop selling fireworks following concern for pets Credit: www.alamy.com

One shopper said she backed Sainsbury’s decision as her dog had to hide under the table on nights when fireworks were commonplace. 

Typically supermarkets and other general retail outlets sell fireworks in the October to November period and for New Year.

It is currently against the law to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am except on special occasions including Bonfire Night and New Year's Eve.

Last October, Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police called for firework sales to be restricted to prevent young people from using them to “terrorise” communities.

But many believe this does not go far enough. Last year, a petition to ban the sale of fireworks to the public and to only allow licensed venues to put on displays was debated in Parliament in November after it reached 307,897 signatures. 

The Government responded that it “takes the issue of safety of fireworks very seriously” and that “legislation is in place to control their sale, use and misuse” but that they did not plan to change the law further. 

Using or buying fireworks illegally can result in a £5,000 fine or imprisonment for up to six months.

A spokesman for the Dogs Trust said that while fireworks “can look beautiful” they can be “distressing” for dogs and left owners on “tenterhooks” as they’re accessible all year-round. 

They added: "A survey found over half of the British public think fireworks should be limited to public displays only.

"To reduce the distress caused to dogs we would like their use restricted to licensed public displays at certain times of the year or organised events, which are well publicised. 

“This will enable owners to take steps to prepare their dogs ahead of any fireworks events. Good for the dogs and good for firework fans."