Chinese lantern danger to cattle
PUBLISHED: 13:00 09 January 2011
A FARMING couple say their fields have been littered with 'dangerous' Chinese lanterns let off by revellers at New Year celebrations.
While many people spent New Year’s Day nursing a hangover, Alan and Anita Edwards say they spent four hours picking up more than 80 deflated lanterns.
The couple, of Drove Farm in Locking, say the items, if left on the fields, can be dangerous to cattle livestock because of the metal frames inside.
They are now calling for the lanterns to be banned.
Mrs Edwards said: “It is, of course, lovely when they go up, but they must in the end come down, and we’re finding many of them here on our fields.
“The lanterns are literally littering our land, causing danger to our livestock if we don’t go out there and spend hours cleaning it up.
“People don’t think about it, but it is the same as throwing paper on the floor. Just because it is the countryside, it does not mean it isn’t littering.”
Mrs Edwards has been farming with her husband at the Locking farm since 2001, looking after sheep and cattle, as well as producing hay.
She said: “I would like to see the lanterns banned, purely because of the danger they could cause to our livestock.
“It may sound drastic, but hopefully it will make people think before letting them off again.”
Secretary for the Weston branch of the NFU, Mike House, said he had received many complaints about the lanterns from farmers in the district.
He said: “We don’t want to be killjoys but we would urge party-goers and venues to resist the temptation to release Chinese lanterns into the countryside.
“In some cases this has led to the death of animals and even if problems are not immediately apparent, there is an additional risk when grass is cut for winter feed and the wire is chopped up amongst hay or silage.
“Fire damage to property and crops from the lanterns landing in crops, particularly in the summer, is also a very real risk.”
The body is calling on the Government to follow Germany and Australia and ban the use of lanterns.