An elderly Levin horse breeder is calling for a New Zealand-wide ban on fireworks after his prized filly was found with horrific wounds at the weekend.
Allan Wallbank, 82, said he went to check on his 2-year-old thoroughbred filly Mabel and found her covered in blood after she became tangled in a fence after taking fright at fireworks being let off at the neighbouring property.
Veterinarians worked hard to save Mabel, who will need ongoing attention, and the treatment had so far cost Wallbank $4000.
Wallbank, a third-generation horseman, said his filly was by Keeper out of the Chief Bearheart mare I Am The Wind, and was worth $20,000 prior to the accident.
The filly had just been broken in, but the injuries she sustained were so bad they had ruined her prospects as a racehorse as a tendon in her back leg had been severed, he said.
"It's heartbreaking," he said. "We haven't had much sleep, thinking about the pain she's in."
He would have moved Mabel to a different paddock had he known there was to be fireworks nearby, he said.
One neighbour was a market gardener who had horse sense and would let him know whenever they were planning on shooting rabbits, allowing him time to move his horses.
"I have decided to start a petition to ban fireworks and will be giving it to all MPs and their electoral offices," he said.
It wasn't the first time that fireworks had caused an injury to a horse on his property. The last time the horse was so badly hurt it had to be put down, he said.
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Wallbank, a former Labour MP, moved from Gisborne to Levin 10 years ago. He loves thoroughbred racehorses and has a current broodmare band of 12, seven of which are on his property at home.
Some horses were sold or syndicated, but he kept the majority himself and was looking forward to racing Mabel.
"She was showing so much promise," he said.
Earlier this month Wellington Zoo called for an end to private fireworks after a spooked animal died on Guy Fawkes night.
The male nyala - a type of antelope native to southern Africa - was found dead at the Zoo the next morning.
General manager of animal care and science Daniel Warsaw said they believe the nyala got spooked from fireworks and ran into a fence.
"What we've found on the post-mortem was that his death was caused by high levels of stress."
Warsaw said they believe fireworks and a small scrub fire close to the zoo on Guy Fawkes caused his death.
"Animals like this nyala, their natural flight response comes into play and all it thinks about is running away and for this animal ... it's a horrible experience."
The zoo team were devastated and it was a completely unnecessary tragedy, he said.
Warsaw said the time had come for private fireworks to be banned.
"We do want to support people having fun, but this is best done through large-scale community fireworks events and not through private fireworks.
"From an animal-welfare perspective it's just a tragedy when things like this occur."
- Additional reporting Emme McKay