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The following account was posted on another board by my friend who works for a vetinary practice in Somerset. Some of us are trying to get the word around as i feel this is important.
"If you are living in a rural area please think twice about setting these lanterns afloat from you wedding, party or whatever.
We have just had the 6th cow in our practice killed by a wire from one of these things. They float away and then land in a field, the lantern isn't spotted, the paper bit disintergrates but the wire parts are left behind,. The wire then gets chopped up in the harvester, baler or silage machine and then when the cows get fed the fodder they ingest the pieces of wire.
The wire travels from one of the stomachs up to the heart resulting in a painful, stressful and usually fatal outcome. Not a nice way to die. The Veterinary Labratory at Langford, Bristol are saying that they are finding more and more cases of these lantern wires causing deaths in cattle.
A large local country house hotel near here is about to receive a legal letter, as despite local farmers complaining about the amount of lanterns they release every weekend, they persist in doing it. We are trying to get together with the hotel and the lantern makers to see if some alternate, safer lantern can be made. One hates to be a killjoy, but animals are dying a painful death and farmers are losing good stock and money."
Farmers are calling for Chinese lanterns to be banned because of the risk they pose to livestock.
They claim the wire-framed party toys - which are often mistaken for UFOs - could cause fires or be eaten by cattle.
Coastguards have asked for advance warnings from people setting off Chinese lanterns following a spate of false alarms along the UK coastline.
The latest incident took place on Saturday night between Bexhill and Pevensey in East Sussex.
Dover Coastguard was called to a sighting reported as a "red flare", which is sent up by a boat in distress.
A farmer from Bradford on Avon is appealing to the public not to use Chinese lanterns during summer parties as the wire inside can kill cattle.
Ian Moore, of Gapwood Farm, off Jones Hill in Bradford, found several lanterns in his field over the weekend of July 25 - two of which had been chewed by his cattle.
Mr Moore said: “There is very fine wire in them and it only takes about an inch of wire to kill them.
FARMERS in Mid Devon are facing a new threat to their livelihood – Chinese flying lanterns.
Ian Johnson, South-West spokesman for the NFU, is warning partygoers of the risk the popular flaming party toys, which are often mistaken for UFOs, pose to fields and crops.
He says many farmers are becoming increasing worried about the lanterns which can be bought for £12.50 and fly for 20 minutes at up to a mile high in the sky.
Used since the 13th century to symbolise hope and good luck, Chinese flying lanterns seem to be the latest 'must-have' at stylish parties, festivals and private celebrations.
For farmers, though, they are a cause for concern. The wire mount for the fuel cell has the potential to injure livestock if it contaminates pasture, cut silage or hay. Arable farmers fear a standing crop being ignited by a lantern returning to the ground
Chinese lanterns which have been released into the air are damaging crops and farmland, farmers in north Wales have claimed.
The National Farmers' Union Cymru said members in Denbighshire and Flintshire had reported a rise in the number of lanterns landing on their property.
The lanterns, which you light in a similar way to a candle, have become popular at festivals and parties.
Both the flame and the wire frame posed hazards, the union said.