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26 Feb 2020, Edition - 1688, Wednesday

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Coimbatore

How cracker explosions traumatise animals and birds

Swathy Reddy J

Animals and birds cannot make sense of the sound of crackers, which sometimes drives them away from their home out of fright. Diwali celebrants have to give a thought to the traumatic experience, say animal lovers.

Bursting crackers symbolises Diwali, and the explosive sound and the sudden burst of light would be exciting for the celebrants, but certainly not for the animals and birds.

It’s common to hear the cracker explosion almost always followed by a faint and weary barking of dogs. The birds, perhaps, do not complain loudly, but are definitely not tolerating it.

Two Coimbatore residents cannot agree more, and they spoke to The Covai Post about the trauma animals experience during Diwali.

Deepak said, “I lost my pet dog on the last Diwali. It can normally never jump a five-foot height, but that day it was so distressed, and perhaps wanted to so badly run away from the loud sounds that it jumped the compound wall, left home and never returned. May be it lost the way back home. We searched for it everywhere but couldn’t find it.”

He said that usually dogs below the age of three get scared when they hear explosive sounds and hide underneath furniture. They will not take food for a week, and it takes nearly a week to recover from the trauma.

“My advice is, please lock your pets up in cages or you may lose them. Please cover the pets with some blankets to give it a soothing feel. If it’s a pup or a young animal, please keep it inside the home.”

Sunitha Cristy, who has been associated with the animal welfare board for more than a decade, said: “I have seen some boys tying cracker to the tail of dogs and setting fire to it. I have treated numerous cases of stray dogs with burnt backs and tails, it’s a pure form of vulgarity.”

She also elaborated on the problems animals and birds undergo during Diwali. “Dogs shiver, barking excessively, suffer hearing impairment or loss of bladder control. In the case of birds, their feathers or some parts of their bodies may get burnt, and they forgot their way back to their nests due to fright.”

She said milk starts oozing off the cows’ udders due to the physiological changes that take place in their bodies because of the noise. Even the horses run out of their stables and it’s difficult to find them as they forget their way back to home.

“Animals and birds normally rise early and retire early in the nights, but during Diwali, their routine is thrown out of gear.”

Sunitha appeals to people to celebrate Diwali with less noise and pollution, or completely without crackers.

Festivals have to be celebrated, no doubt, but not at the expense of other lives, she says.

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