Rancher says sky lantern caused death of a cow

Sky lantern
Sky lanterns. This photo found on the site of a company that sells the dangerous devices appears to show four of them in the background that have ignited the paper or plastic balloon and are raining down burning debris.

A rancher in the United Kingdom is blaming the death of one of his cows on a sky lantern that landed on his property. These devices are small hot air balloons lofted into the air by fuel burning at the base.

Below is an excerpt from an article at Farmers Weekly:

…Last year, David Rowlands of Grange Farm, Mickle Trifford, Chester, experienced the problems of sky lanterns first hand. The Rowlands family lost one of their pedigree Red Poll breeding cows to a sky lantern around bonfire night.

“She started staggering, so we treated her for staggers, but obviously it had no effect.

“The vets assessment was that the oesophagus had been pierced by wire from one of these wretched things, leading to asphyxiation,” Mr Rowlands explained.

“These sky lanterns have either wire or bamboo frames and essentially they’re cannon balls floating.

“Eventually they land and if they land in a field with cattle grazing, the cattle will investigate.

“The animals are inclined to chew things like this, the wire will splinter, penetrating their throats and causing swelling. It leads to asphyxiation, a horrible death taking about 48 hours.”

“How an animal-loving nation can tolerate this sort of risk to cattle and sheep baffles me,” he toldFarmers Weekly.

But Mr Rowlands hopes if more councils ban them it will help as he says he doesn’t think it is deliberate nastiness of the people releasing them, more that they simply don’t understand the risks.

“Our cows don’t think they are worth the risk,” he said…

Sky lanterns are banned in 39 of the states in the U.S.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.