Chinese Lanterns

One man’s meat is another man’s poison goes the old saying. Nowhere is this more true than here on the farm.

We are being troubled by Chinese Lanterns landing in our fields. For those of you who have not come across them , paper lanterns which float up into the sky by lighting a candle inside them. The problem we have is with their construction. When the lantern has burnt out what is left behind is a circular piece of wire approximately 15” inches across with two cross members.

These lanterns are traditionally released to bring good luck and prosperity ! It seems ironic that they should be causing so much trouble to anyone who keeps livestock. A farmer in the Wirrel got up one morning and found 57 lantern remains scattered across his farm. In Chester a cow was treated by a vet for 48 hours before it died a painful death. At the post-mortem wire from one of these lanterns had punctured the cow’s esophagus. So the cow had a slow painful death suffocating on her own food. A Shropshire horse breeder had one of his young horses fatally injured from being spooked by one of these lanterns. It broke it’s front legs when it got entangled in a fence trying to escape from a lantern overhead. The list goes on and on.

The National Farmers Union has called for a total ban on all Chinese Lanterns. They can be bought for as little as £2 each. There are companies who are trying to address the situation. 100% biodegradable lanterns can be bought at more expense. These lanterns come with a long list of do’s and don’ts. They must be let off in open spaces away from overhead cables or pylons, never near airports or by the coast. ( They have been mistaken for distress flares). Some of these lanterns will rise over a mile high and with the right thermals and continue flying for 20 mins.

On 4th. February questions were asked in The House Of Lords regarding Chinese Lanterns. On a local level in the last month we have picked up the remains of 10 of these lanterns. At the moment the grass is short and they are noticeable, but when the grass grows our worry is they will go unnoticed. Then when the grass crop is harvested the wires will be chopped up by the mower thus making a feed with the potential of killing all our cows!

So if you must let off these lanterns please look into what they are made of and where they are going to land. Your few moments of pleasure could be at the expense of many unsuspecting animals.