Members of the public are being urged “not to release balloons for any reason” given the dangers they pose to livestock.
An anonymous farmer in the south of Ireland made the appeal via local media over the course of the weekend, following an incident.
In a brief message to Kenmare News, the farmer said: “Hello there, Please, could you implore your readers not to release balloons for any reason.”
“It’s very dangerous for farm animals and wildlife. I had to fish this from halfway down a bull’s gullet this morning.” the message added.
The release of balloons and lanterns pose hazards to both livestock and wildlife, causing injury and death. Animals can experience injury, suffering or death through ingestion, entanglement, and entrapment.
Simmental bull killed
Kilbride Farm Simmentals, situated in Co. Antrim, shared the news about their 2010-born bull, Crugmelyn Brenin, on social media earlier this afternoon (Thursday, April 16th).
The owners of the herd, which was founded in 1971, are encouraging the public to support the National Health Service (NHS) in other ways which are “not detrimental to the environment”.
The NFU has called for a complete ban on sky lanterns to avoid fires, harm to animals and littering.
Alternatives to balloon activities
The Irish Wildlife Trust, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Irish Seal Sanctuary and BirdWatch Ireland has suggested the following alternatives to balloon activities:
- Flags, banners, and streamers: You can save money and time over balloons, ribbons, and helium? They are weather-resistant and can be reused again and again!
- Ribbon dancers: Instead of giving balloons at parties or events, why not give something a little more engaging? Balloons simply sit tied up, float away to pollute or eventually deflate.
- Kites & garden spinners: Kites and spinners can be enjoyed for years, and are also hugely visually appealing and fun!
- Plant in remembrance: Why not plant a native tree, flower garden or butterfly garden? You would not only be giving life to those plants but also providing shelter, resources, and clean air to all kinds of wildlife, people, and communities. This remembrance will last much longer and can be revisited, according to the bodies.
- Lighting candles: A great way to remember a loved one or welcome new life is by lighting candles.