As the countdown continues to a night of bonfires and fireworks, NFU Scotland (NFUS) has urged people to consider their farming neighbours and drop the use of sky lanterns in displays or for fun.
The union said because there was no way to guarantee them landing safely, sky lanterns should not be available to the public as farmers and crofters ‘could end up paying a heavy cost for their brief enjoyment’.
The wire or wooden frame can get mixed up in animal feed and accidently digested by livestock – the effects of which can be fatal.
And with straw and hay at such a premium this year, the risk is even higher, the union said.
NFUS animal health and welfare policy manager Penny Middleton said: “Although these lanterns seem to be innocent fun, they can in fact be very dangerous both for farm animals, who often end up ingesting them, and farm buildings which are extremely susceptible to fire damage from them.
“I would discourage people from incorporating these devices into their displays this year and ask them to consider farmers and crofters, who could end up paying a heavy cost for their brief enjoyment.
“We applaud the action already taken against sky lanterns by those local authorities in Scotland who have already imposed a ban and we urge other councils to take their responsibilities as seriously.”
Ms Middleton said the union also re-emphasised the need for people to consider any neighbouring livestock and other animals when planning a fireworks display, including taking simple measures such as warning animal keepers of the event details.
“Bonfire night is a long standing and well-loved tradition in the UK and we do not want to spoil anyone’s fun,” she said.
“However, taking the time to consider the impact of any display – planned or otherwise – will ensure that all can enjoy this traditional, colourful but noisy time of year.”
NFUS reiterated its plea to local authorities to ban the use of sky lanterns. It parallels Farmers Guardian’s Say No to Sky Lanterns campaign which has continued to be influential in the banning of sky lanterns across the UK.