With the popularity of Chinese lanterns increasing, especially during times of celebration, such as the upcoming Diwali and Bonfire night celebrations, we consider the danger these lanterns pose to wildlife and field animals, and the damage they can cause.
Although these lanterns are a pretty sight flying across the sky, and seem a wonderful way to celebrate, the potential for harm when they land can be horrific.
With blockbuster family films such as ‘Tangled’ contributing to a rise in their popularity, we are sure that many people who enjoy the sight of lanterns flying through the night sky would be horrified to learn of the terrible injuries and deaths field animals such as horses have experienced as a result.
A number of animal welfare charities and news organisations alike have received terrible reports of internal and external injuries to horses and other livestock caused by wires and flames from these lanterns.
One of these reports was published by Horse & Hound after a young horse suffered burns to his face and body.
Devastated owner Paris Gainsford spoke to the publication after her four-year-old horse Danny suffered burns around his ears and on the side of his face, both stifles and his shoulder. Thankfully Paris’ vet was able to come out within half an hour and Danny was put on antibiotics and painkillers.
As a result of the injuries suffered by Danny, Paris began urging members of the public not to set off these potentially fatal lanterns.
There is no way of controlling where they go or where they land. So before making the decision to release a Chinese lantern, it is worth considering that they carry an open flame and could very well land in a hay barn or a horse’s stable, where they have the potential to cause considerable and devastating damage.
UK fire and rescue services advise people to refrain from using Chinese lanterns as they pose a fire hazard to a number of sites, some of which are the homes of live animals.
The Chief Fire Officers Association released a statement, which said: "The Chief Fire Officers' Association is calling for an urgent review on the use of the floating paper lanterns as they operate in a unregulated and uncontrolled way.
"CFOA does not support the use of these devices and asks members of the public and event organisers to refrain from using them. Whilst these lanterns are undoubtedly a popular and beautiful sight, the potential damage they can cause is significant."