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Sainsbury’s isn’t selling fireworks this year – is it the right call?

Sainsbury’s has become the first major supermarket to stop selling fireworks, but do you agree with its decision? And will other supermarkets follow suit?

03/11/2020: Update

Sainsbury’s has confirmed its decision not to sell fireworks will extend to this year:

With many Bonfire Night events called off due to the pandemic this year, it’s likely that most of the fireworks we do see and hear this Thursday will be back garden displays.

Do you support Sainsbury’s continued decision not to stock them? Should other supermarkets follow their lead?

01/11/2019: Sainsbury’s stops selling fireworks

As Bonfire Night approaches the debate over whether fireworks should continue to be sold to the general public will always resurface. It’s one I’ve written about before here on Which? Conversation.

When we posted about the subject on Facebook back in 2016 it sparked a huge debate around the responsible use and sale of them.

Last year, a petition to ban them ended up attracting more than 300,000 signatures. This is, without question, a topic that people feel very strongly about.

Sainsbury’s stops selling fireworks

This year’s debate has taken a further twist, with Sainsbury’s becoming the first major supermarket to stop selling them completely.

It hasn’t said exactly why the decision has been taken, but did tell the BBC that the information was commercially sensitive.

In that case, perhaps it’s a cost-related decision rather than one down to campaigning pressure. But whatever the reason, those who want to see them banned have been expressing their support for the supermarket’s decision.

Regardless of the reasons behind the move, do you support Sainsbury’s decision to stop selling fireworks?

Last year we discussed whether back garden bonfire and fireworks events were safe enough.

Kate pointed out that while there are no specific bonfire bans in the UK, there are some restrictions that people should definitely be aware of.

This includes the fact that you could be fined if you allow smoke to drift across a road and become a danger to traffic.

Experiences with bonfires and fireworks

Do you think back garden displays are safe? Speaking from experience, I have my doubts. When I was around four years old, my family attended a display in a friend’s back garden.

After a rocket was lit, it became dislodged at the last possible moment and came hurtling towards me and my dad. I have his quick reactions and a very thick leather jacket to thank for not being seriously injured – he was able to shield me from it just in time.

Fortunately I was ok, if a little shaken, especially after seeing the huge hole burnt through the leather. If you are having a display this year please do be as careful as possible, especially if there are children around.

Have you ever had any similar experiences to mine? Do you want to see the sale of fireworks banned in the UK? Should they be limited to officially organised events only?

Every year the calls seem to get louder – perhaps it’s just a matter of time?

How do you feel about Sainsbury's not selling fireworks this year?

It's a good decision (97%, 4,560 Votes)

It's a bad decision (2%, 113 Votes)

Other (Tell us why in the comments) (0%, 19 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,692

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The reporting function appears to be broken, George. When reporting posts the same message appears “You appear to have already reported this.”

Ta 🙂

Here’s an article that includes a reminder that hedgehogs could be at risk if they take shelter under a pile of wood intended for a bonfire: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-50250252 🦔

This comment was removed at the request of the user

It does not have to be deliberate acts that harm wildlife. When I was a child the hedgehog that frequented our garden was found dead, probably after eating a slug or snail that had eaten a slug pellet.

Bonfires are best built as late as possible, not only to protect wildlife but to reduce the chance of them being started prematurely. The one I’m heading towards this evening was not there yesterday.

duncan, “motorists deliberately squashing animals” is not something I have seen. Maybe it just happens north of the border? However, swerving to avoid a small animal or bird in the road (pheasants seem particularly stupid) could easily cause a serious accident with an oncoming vehicle.

One route home late at night often finds deer at the road side or crossing into woodland; unpredictable animals so the best way is to drive slowly until they have dispersed.

When I was a motorcyclist I stopped to rescue a hedgehog that had stopped in the middle of a country road. Leather gauntlets have their uses. Another motorcyclist stopped to see if I had broken down and then disappeared quickly when I explained what I was doing.

I’ve not witnessed any examples of drivers deliberately going for wildlife. A chap in one of the coastal towns was given 20 weeks for kicking a gull to death, last week.

I agree; pheasants seem incredibly stupid but they may well have been bred for that quality.

Lyn Smith-Dennis says:
5 November 2019

So grateful that you have made this decision. On behalf of all the people, domestic pets and wildlife who are so badly affected by the noise, I applaud your decision. Thank you

What is wrong with you people?changing a discussion about a commercial decision by a retail behemoth into a damnation of how cruel we all are to all that poor wildlife.All the supermarkets sell totally pointless items,e.g. bottled water,with no thought for the environment or the knock on effect to wildlife,marine life etc,as long as there is a profit margin in it.If they can see by not selling something projects a moral stance,which will attract customers from there rivals,they will.To stop commercial environmental pollution of any type,is to STOP BUYING IT.Modern commercialism for the last 150 years has never given a fig about its impact on the environment or it would never have developed.Shape up and realise it is the unregulated amount of people who are the pollution problem,not there individual attitudes to living there time on the planet.

Mrs S ROY says:
5 November 2019

Fantastic decision . Nothing against all having a bit of fun, but let’s do it safely at organised events , surely less accidents. Also stops fireworks being used randomly for days either side of 5 November , so upsetting for animals.
Very well done Sainsbury’s 👍

Belinda says:
5 November 2019

Weeks of torture for animals & people with Autism or PTSD. Every year they get louder. Remove the noise & enjoy a visual display.

Hazel Croft-Phillips says:
6 November 2019

Hoping Sainsbury’s will be the first of many retailers to stop selling fireworks and eventually people will realise the pain fireworks cause to wild animals, pets and humans.

kirsty williams says:
6 November 2019

I have a dog and she gets in a terrible state and it’s upsetting to watch, and at times you feel bad because nothing you do can comfort her.
I 100% could not agree more.

E Clark says:
6 November 2019

It is a good decision to not sell fireworks as they are a danger to children and pets . Organised fireworks displays are easily accessible .

Andrew Winston- Jones says:
6 November 2019

Well done on this decision not to sell fireworks. My.littoe dog had a seizure at 5.35 lastnight caused by a rocket going off not in a public display.
She’s ok now but was awful to witness and keep her going without it causing permanent damage or killing her. Tescos Asdas and all other shops selling fireworks please take note of this huge animal caring stand Sainsbury’s gave taken.
Please do the same and put ” animal welfare ” first and mot your pockets!!!!!.

Linda Davison says:
6 November 2019

Thankyou Sainsbury. I livecon a council estate where kids are dragged up and will usecfireworks to throw in the gardens, throw atclivestock which graze nearby and intimidate people and animals for days and nights. Their parents really dont care and would prefer to phyically attack you if you complained about their behavior. The 5th nov was much quietr this year because there is an effort to stop the horrendus bangs that upset people and animals.

Eileen Welsh says:
6 November 2019

My Facebook page has been flooded with photographs of dead and severely injured animals due to fireworks for the last 2 weeks. 2 rockets tied to a cat and then lit, all fur burned off and one leg blown off. The cat died – no surprise there. Firework put inside a guinea pig hutch which set their bedding on fire, horses terrified impaled on fences trying to escape and dying of a twisted gut running in fear. Dogs/cats/rabbits dying of heart attack. It just goes on and one.

But it’s not just pets and horses what about our wildlife that no-one looks after? What about autistic childre who struggle with the noise? What about our war veterans with PTSD – these bangs must be like being back in a war zone for them too.

It’s time they were taken off general sale to the public and only sold to organisers of firework displays. Then at least there would be an organised display and everyone could be given warning and have time to prepare.

Maria Hamilton says:
6 November 2019

Fireworks cause so much misery, and even life to Animals. I hate them

I visited the local bonfire and fireworks display yesterday evening. It’s on common land and well away from housing and the only dogs there were hot dogs. Unfortunately the fireworks were louder than I can ever remember and I was still aware that I had been subjected to loud noise by the time I’d walked to a pub in town. I will contact the Lions, who organised the event because others commented on the noise.

Janice Taylor says:
7 November 2019

The harm these fireworks do to all animals people the elderly People with horrendous health issues is an absolute disgrace People living on housing estates suffer constantly for weeks with these bombs going off day and night WHY are we all having to suffer this WHY

Those animal (wild and pet) lovers who have contributed to this Convo (including myself) might like to read this: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/11/foxes-cats-and-squirrels-how-to-deter-them-from-your-garden/

Personally I’m happy to see any wild animal in my garden. We had a fox regularly visit us for food and it would stand next to me while I put its food down. Unfortunately some weeks later it succumbed to a car. I have a family of squirrels that try to turn my garden into a cobnut forest. Next door’s cats hunt and have a small digging patch in the garden, I have had rabbits, deer, the odd hedgehog, pheasant…….. I am unlikely to deter them permanently so live and let live. As far as I’m concerned they are welcome.

I’m about to dig a small pond to attract more wildlife. Hopefully the outcome will be pleasurable, just like hanging up bird feeders where, besides the smaller birds, the intelligent acrobat crows provide entertainment.

Anna says:
8 November 2019

Great move, as so many accidents happen in back garden firework displays. Neighbouring animals are badly affected by the noise and the flashes of light. Only well organised licensed public displays should be permitted.

P Powell says:
23 November 2019

Are they the same supermarket that won’t even give paper bags for the fruit and vegetables? I just go elsewhere.

Getting a bit fed up with Sainsbury pandering to the minorities views, where have peoples rights gone with respect to this supermarket.

N. Wallis says:
6 December 2019

Great that will save a lot of animals suffering. GREAT NEWS.

guido 5/11/35 says:
31 December 2019

not much point one chain stopping selling when the shop round the corner where kids can buy cigs knives and nobody in authority cares give your mp some if you want organised displays