The 2023 New Year’s Eve fireworks at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a bustling harborside district in Cape Town, South Africa, went ahead as planned as the Cape of Good Hope SPCA lost its High Court case after seeking an interdict to halt them, claiming that they posed a threat to local wildlife, including endangered and protected species living in the area. The Western Cape High Court dismissed their application and ruled that the five-minute-long fireworks display could go ahead.

The Cape Animal Welfare Forum (CAWF), which represents 59 organisations in the Western Cape, said they were dismayed by the “ill-considered” decision. CAWF said, “In 2020, the V&A Waterfront made a commendable commitment to forgo fireworks displays, pledging to celebrate New Year’s in a safe and environmentally-friendly manner. CAWF praised this decision for its potential positive impact on the environment and the diverse animal life inhabiting the V&A Waterfront area.”

Allan Perrins, spokesperson for the Animal Welfare Society of South Africa (AWS SA) said to the Daily Voice, “We are still receiving calls from pet owners infuriated by the senseless and unlawful letting off of fireworks across the Metro including calls from irate pet owners living in the vicinity of the V&A Waterfront…The only good to come from this bad situation is that it has strengthened our resolve to put an end to this.”  Belinda Abraham, a spokesperson for the SPCA, said a report will soon be made public regarding the environmental impact of the fireworks display at the Waterfront.

Fireworks are harmful to all types of sentient beings, and they should be banned anywhere in the world. Fireworks can cause birds to suffer panic attacks and flee their nests or colonies, resulting in disorientation, injury, or death. Some birds may never return to their homes, leaving their young vulnerable to starvation or predation. In 2021, hundreds of birds were found dead in Rome’s streets after New Year fireworks displays.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.