As summer parties and weddings get into full swing, now is a timely reminder for people to be aware of the effects that helium balloons and Chinese lanterns have on our animals and countryside. Balloons look wonderful when released, especially on mass. However, they travel many miles and end up littering the landscape, becoming a hazard to animals.
Only a week ago the Vet Times posted about the dangers of helium balloons being eaten by grazing cattle. There have been many reports over the years about animals eating balloons and subsequently dying; horses, cows and our beloved English wildlife. Helium balloons often land in the sea, where they can be eaten by fish, seabirds and other marine animals.
Chinese lanterns cause just as many problems. When ingested by animals the wire frame can tear and puncture the animals throat or stomach causing internal bleeding. Animals can become entangled in the fallen frames, causing them to suffer from injury and stress. Plus, there is the added fire hazard that comes with a Chinese lantern. If a fire catches upon landing it can destroy habitats, set animal housing, feed and bedding alight. During the dry summer months, the fire risk is increased as it’s easier for grass and countryside to catch fire.
Help protect our wildlife by picking up any fallen balloons or Chinese lanterns that you may see whilst out walking. Wales have banned the use of them on any council owned site and there are calls for England and Scotland to do the same. Whilst we don’t want you to stop having fun, we would like you to think about the consequences of letting off both helium balloons and Chinese Lanterns.
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