Activist Alicia Coons of Point Loma and others are petitioning the City Council to ask them to direct SeaWorld to only use fireworks alternatives for their nightly summer shows.
In the wording of an online petition drive protesting SeaWorld’s pyrotechnics displays, Coons claims, “SeaWorld is damaging the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of San Diegans who live within a 20-mile radius on a nightly basis every day for three months straight … The fireworks at SeaWorld constitute animal cruelty. Dogs, cats and other companion animals don't understand that the terrifying loud bangs are a celebration. … Exposure to hazardous noise is one of the most common causes of irreversible hearing loss. … We are asking the San Diego City Council to ban the fireworks at SeaWorld and ask them to switch to laser-light shows which provide all the awe of fireworks displays and are kinder to animals and the environment and show a courteous and decent neighborly behavior to the people of San Diego.”
In reply to the online petition drive, SeaWorld spokesman Dave Koontz issued the following statement: “Nightly fireworks during the summer have been a tradition for SeaWorld and San Diego for nearly 30 years, and we continue to receive significant positive feedback from visitors and area residents. It is the culmination of our daily ‘Summer Nights’ program.”
Dave Koontz said the marine park “only uses small fireworks shells in our displays, which take place on 66 nights during the summer, as it has long been our policy not to use any shells for the sole purpose to make noise. All of our fireworks displays are conducted in accordance with city of San Diego policy, which is the ordinance that regulates fireworks demonstrations in San Diego, as well as our National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.”
Regarding the impact of noise from fireworks on animals, Koontz said, “Our firework displays do not impact the animals in our park. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service filed a report relating to our animals and fireworks that states that ‘all animals were apparently healthy and there were no aberrant behavioral manifestations noted ... as result of firework activities in the evening during summer.’
“More than 10 years of analysis consistently demonstrate that our fireworks are not having a detrimental impact on Mission Bay,” Koontz said.
Koontz said unlike other community Fourth of July celebrations, “Our fireworks displays last only five minutes.”
Alexis Coons said her group hopes to collect at least 10,000 signatures before taking it to the City Council for possible action.