NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario (WIVB) — In a specific reference to the Canadian side of The Falls, PETA has recognized Niagara Falls Tourism as its “Grinch of the Year.”
According to PETA, the designation is “for its determination to steal animals’, military veterans’, and other noise-sensitive individuals’ peace of mind with its relentless fireworks.”
A news release from PETA claims “nearly nightly fireworks shows” have been happening in Niagara Falls since May.
“A natural wonder like Niagara Falls doesn’t need fireworks,” PETA tells News 4.
The organization, whose acronym stands for “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,” said it will be sending its “Grinch of the Year” a “certificate of shame” and a lump of coal.
“Niagara Falls Tourism’s small heart won’t let visitors enjoy one of the world’s greatest natural wonders without a constant barrage of explosions that leave animals running for their lives, and that makes it a Grinch in our book,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said. “All we want for Christmas is for the organization to stop causing vulnerable individuals harm and distress with its shameful fireworks shtick.”
PETA says that earlier this year, it sent a letter to Niagara Falls Tourism’s President and CEO, suggesting that they instead provide drone or laser light shows, not only due to noise concerns, but those of pollution, too.
“To animals, fireworks really do sound like ‘bombs bursting in air,’ and veterans and others suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder can be deeply disturbed by the noise, too,” PETA told News 4.
PETA said that in the past, it has named celebrity “Grinches of the Year.” The organization said this year 24-year-old rapper Jack Harlow “was in the running for glamorizing horse racing in his ‘Churchill Downs’ music video.”
“We’ve released ‘naughty’ lists of companies that exploit animals, including SeaWorld for forcibly breeding dolphins and whales and confining them to concrete tanks — and we’ve delivered heaping piles of coal to executives at Starbucks for charging extra for vegan milks, as well as to Petco, for selling suffering animals and obtaining them from suppliers that have killed animals in makeshift gas chambers and enabled cannibalism, among other horrors,” PETA said.
News 4 reached out to Niagara Falls Tourism and received the following statement:
During a time of tourism recovery and after a two-year absence, the annual fireworks series (a 5-minute show) provides an experience to be enjoyed as we all look for ways to be uplifted and inspired and welcome visitors back to Niagara Falls. Fireworks have always been a high demand activity, with enthusiasm from all generations – both visitors and residents. We understand that PETA continues to raise concerns.
Niagara Falls Tourism continues to deliver programming that complies with all regulations and supports the tourism operations that are vital to the economy of Niagara Falls and the livelihood of many of its residents. Niagara Falls is a city with approximately 87,000 residents welcoming approximately 14 million visitors annually.
Niagara Falls Tourism takes its responsibility to be a good host destination very seriously and we remain focused on providing memorable entertainment for the public in a responsible manner. On a long-term basis, we have and continue to research options that could augment the popular fireworks displays. Those could potentially include laser or drone shows. At this point, it is too early to speculate what might be possible, until research is completed.Janice Thomas, President and CEO of Niagara Falls Tourism
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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.