Marine charity urges communities to help stop damaging balloon and lantern releases
Choking sea creatures and tangled up marine wildlife are the results of ‘letting go’
MCS is hoping to encourage communities to think again before organising balloon and sky lantern releases.
From charity releases to memorial events, letting hundreds, sometimes thousands of balloons and lanterns into the sky has become common practice up and down the country. But stunning as these releases may look, the results on the marine environment can be devastating.
MCS Pollution Campaigns Officer, Emma Cunningham says choking and entanglement are the biggest dangers that balloons and lanterns cause when they float back down to earth. “A turtle searching for food may mistake a deflated balloon for a jellyfish and swallow it up – the problem is the balloon will block the turtle’s digestive system and lead to starvation and eventually death.
Lanterns floating over the sea have been mistaken for distress flares and resulted in false alarm call outs of coastguard staff.”
Now MCS has produced a brand new guide to help people understand the dangers of mass releases. The ‘Don’t Let Go’ downloadable action pack suggests alternatives to letting go and gives tips on how to go about stopping a planned balloon or lantern release in their local area.
“We’re incredibly grateful to members of the public who tell us when these events are planned and our advice has already resulted in many balloon and lantern releases being stopped or changed for other activities. But obviously it’s far better for people in the local area to contact event organisers and that’s why we’ve created the action pack,” says Emma Cunningham.
MCS is keen to point out that the charity doesn’t want to spoil anyone’s fun and the ‘Don’t let Go’ campaign is all about education.
“A number of organisations, including the National Farmers Union, RSPB and RSPCA are as keen as us to see a reduction in these releases. Livestock have been killed from eating broken up lanterns which are accidentally picked up by harvesting machinery and put into winter feeds. In 2010 a Cheshire farmer lost one of his pedigree cattle worth £1,000 after it died from eating the wire frame from a lantern,” says Emma Cunningham.
The Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) says the releasing of balloons and sky lanterns is increasing in popularity in Northern Ireland and they are urging people to consider the consequences before letting go.
UFU’s President Harry Sinclair says: “The debris from these items often falls into farmers fields, littering them and potentially hurting livestock. For example, there is the very real possibility that livestock will eat the metal wire frames of the lanterns, which can then pierce their internal organs and cause life threatening damage. Even biodegradable eco-friendly lanterns pose a serious risk to livestock. The bamboo frames of these lanterns can be chopped up during the silage and hay making period and may be ingested by livestock at a later date causing serious internal damage.”
In Wales, MCS, along with Keep Wales Tidy (KWT) and Cardiff Council supported eco-schools in Cardiff in running a petition urging the Welsh Government to ban all intentional outdoor balloon and lantern releases. As a result, the Welsh Environment Minister has asked officials to collect further evidence on this issue and in England, Defra are also carrying out an independent study looking at the impacts.
K W T’s Sarah Philpott says “Clearly we’re hopeful of a legislative change here in Wales. In the meantime it’s important that people appreciate the unnecessary harms caused by releasing balloons and lanterns. Along with our partners, we’re inviting organisations to make a voluntary pledge to not carry our releases”.
At least 25 local authorities have agreed not to allow releases on their land and we’re pleased to discuss the alternatives with businesses and charities who may be contemplating a mass release of balloons or lanterns,” says Emma Cunnngham.
The ‘Don’t Let Go’ action pack can be downloaded at www.mcsuk.org/url/dontletgo where you can also find details of where to report forthcoming events.
Thank you so much to everyone who has stood with us in the latest fight against live farm animal exports.
Sadly, last month, the UK saw two worrying developments in this cruel trade. A court decision ruled out a Judicial Review that could have led to an end to Ramsgate’s live export trade. And the owners of the Joline – the converted tank transporter used to export animals through Ramsgate – attempted to start using another port.
Fortunately a ‘berthing trial’ at Dover, Kent was inconclusive – but we are certain this won’t be the end of the story. Alongside local campaigners, we are working hard to try to block any expansion of export trade. And we are so grateful to everyone who has taken our latest national action, calling for a change in UK law so that ports can ban exports on ethical grounds.
Thank you also to the 29,932 people who have demanded government action following the sad resurgence of live exports from Ireland.
I am sorry to report that a second shipment of cattle set sail for Libya on 14th April. We don’t know what will happen to these animals once they reach Northern Africa. But if the Libyan abattoirs are anything like those we’ve visited in neighbouring Egypt, we suspect their slaughter will be nothing short of horrific.
The fight against live exports around the world takes time, money and perseverance. Can you help us consign this cruel and barbaric trade to the history books? If you can, please make a donation today. We will put whatever you can give, straight to work for farm animals everywhere. Thank you.
Spring is here in the UK! This is a time when dairy cows are released from their indoor winter housing to their fresh pasture for spring and summer grazing.
Last year, Compassion’s ‘Dancing Cows’ became an internet sensation, with more than 1.5 million people watching our film of a British dairy herd being released onto pasture. Now you can watch our latest film, ‘Dreaming Cows’ to see what high welfare life is like for cows during the warm AND cold months.
Sadly, though, these animals are the lucky ones. Some of Europe’s dairy cows never get to leave the confines of their sheds – and are kept in appalling conditions indoors all year round. If you haven’t done so already, please sign the Supporting Better Dairy petition to help give cows a better life.
Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW)
This year, Compassion and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) have opened up a new frontier in the fight against factory farming. BBFAW is an independent programme designed to help investors understand more about the animal welfare policies and performance in the supply chains of global food businesses.
The first report benchmarks how 68 of the world’s largest food retailers, manufacturers and food service companies manage farm animal welfare in their supply chains – and BBFAW will be updated and expanded every year. Read more about the impact this unique programme could make for farm animals here.
Can you sponsor the Compassion team?
On Sunday, 12th May the Compassion HQ team will be stepping in the right direction for farm animal welfare by taking on a 10km sponsored ramble in Guildford, Surrey, UK. Thank you to everyone who has already made a donation –can you help us reach our target of £3,000?
Alternatively, would you like to join us on the 12th May or organise your own Walk with Compassion event? Click here for details.
Recently, thousands of supporters sent e-cards to Sainsbury’s, Coop Italia, IKEA and Unilever, congratulating them on the steps that they have taken for farm animal welfare – and urging them to continue to improve more animals’ lives.
IKEA were so impressed by the feedback that they contacted us and told us:
"We were overwhelmed by the response from Compassion’s supporters, and would like to thank you all for your encouraging emails! Your support encourages us to work even harder to make a difference for farm animals!"
Anders Lennartsson, Sustainability Manager, IKEA Food Services AB
Thank you to everyone who is helping us get the message across to the food industry: farm animals deserve our compassion and our respect.
Lisa Supporter Engagement Team
PS Thank you to everyone who donated to our recent appeal to fund vital work for pigs. We are delighted to announce that you raised a whopping £100,073 in support of the campaign. And, thanks to 28 benevolent supporters, £92,120 of these gifts will be ‘match-funded’ – making a staggering total of £192,193! Thanks to you, we can keep up the fight to improve life for farm animals and push for 100 percent compliance with the EU Pigs Directive.
Remember: Despite having had 11 years to prepare, the following countries are reported to be violating the EU sow stall ban: Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Poland and Portugal. Watch this space for actions you can take to ensure that no sow in Europe spends most of her life in a cage.
Chicken milk is the latest craze sweeping the globe.
Due to an ever-increasing global thirst for milk, egg-heads have been working around the clock to find alternative sources of the white stuff.
And after thousands of experiments there was one clear winner: Chicken milk.
Chicken breast is best apparently...
OK, we’re joking – you probably guessed that already. But some things in farming aren’t funny. Like our broken food system. Those in control of our food have been playing around for too long now, acting like there are no consequences to factory farming.
As a supporter of Compassion, you know that there ARE consequences – serious ones. You know that factory farming is hurting animals, trashing our planet and ruining people’s lives.
But not everyone does. This April Fool’s Day is the perfect time to let your friends and family know about Raw. Fool your friends and see if they believe in chicken milk.
As a thank you, we’ll send you our top five most cringe-worthy food and farming jokes.
PS On a slightly different subject, we did it! The UK government is sticking to its commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on international aid. This will help support small-scale farmers in developing countries. Thousands of you worked with us and the IF campaign to convince the government to stick to its commitment. Congratulations!
Please thank this hot dude! For promoting vegan lifestyle. Link below, thanks http://forcechange.com/62430/thank-justin-timberlake-for-promoting-a-vegan-lifestyle/?utm_source=ForceChange+Newsletter&utm_campaign=37cb9477d2-NL3863_26_2013&utm_medium=email
Here is a a email i was sent about Wild Mustangs in USA being captured, there is also a a great video of the world doing earth hour, I am definitely taking part http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/suzanne-roy/government-and-industry-a_b_2917926.html
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petitions, some sent to
me by very dear friends
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