PETA urges veto of Florida fireworks measure

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, wants Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto a bill that would allow Floridians to legally buy fireworks for use three days a year.

The animal rights group expressed concerns that the proposal approved by the Legislature last week “would endanger the state’s most vulnerable residents of many species.”

The bill (SB 140) would allow people 18 and older to buy fireworks to use on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Independence Day.

The letter sent Friday by PETA President Ingrid Newkirk expressed concerns about the effects of noise and smoke on animals and humans.

“Many humans have been injured in fireworks accidents, and the displays can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory problems,” Newkirk wrote. “Veterans and others suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are also sensitive to and can be deeply disturbed by the noise of the explosives and the smell of the gunpowder.”

Under current law, relatively innocuous devices such as sparklers are legal to buy in Florida, but explosives such as firecrackers, torpedoes and roman candles are off limits. However, people can buy the explosives if they sign a waiver saying they will use the fireworks for certain agricultural purposes, specifically for “frightening birds from agricultural work” and fish hatcheries.

The proposal on its way to the governor would eliminate the need for people to declare why they are buying fireworks, if they use them during the three holidays listed in the bill. The measure would not preempt local fireworks regulations.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.