Dales part–goers asked to think about animal safety

Dales residents are being asked to think of animal safety when taking part in this bumper year of celebrations.

While celebrating this summer’s Jubilee and Olympics, the public are asked to think twice before setting off fireworks, releasing balloons and lighting sky lanterns to ensure pets, wildlife and livestock aren’t frightened or even killed.

The call for restraint comes from a group of organisations concerned with animal welfare and wildlife conservation. The RSPB, RSPCA and the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), along with the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the Soil Association, say that supposedly innocent celebrations could cause more harm to animals at this time of year as it is in the middle of the breeding season.

The group is hoping to highlight the problems fireworks, balloons and sky lanterns, also known as Chinese lanterns, can cause and ask people to think about alternative ways to have fun this summer for the safety of animals.

Martin Harper, the RSPB’s conservation director, said: “As we gear up to celebrate the Jubilee and welcome the Olympics this summer, we need to remember that it’s a crucial time for wild birds and other animals that are right in the middle of the breeding season. Normally, fireworks displays happen in November, where they pose less of a threat to wildlife, but celebrations held this June and July could prove to be a lot more dangerous.

“Animals may abandon their young if they become unsettled by the loud noises or smoke close to where they’re sheltering, and if live fireworks come into contact with birds and other wildlife they can cause severe burns and injuries resulting in death.

“Similarly, sky lanterns and balloons can have a detrimental effect on wildlife that ingest the remains or get tangled up in the debris, causing a slow, suffering death through starvation.

“We definitely don’t want anyone to stop having fun this summer, but we want to remind people that there are other, more wildlife-friendly ways to celebrate. Why not make and wave a homemade flag, fly a kite or organise a plastic duck race with your family instead?”