Public urged to be mindful of farm animals

NFU Scotland is asking display organisers to have consideration for any livestock that might be nearby and to inform their owners of any planned activities.

NFU Scotland is asking display organisers to have consideration for any livestock that might be nearby and to inform their owners of any planned activities.

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The public is being urged to have some consideration of the possible impact of their actions when organising firework displays this autumn.

With November 5 approaching, the number of bonfires and fireworks will be increasing and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) is asking organisers to take into account the possible effect this could have on nearby livestock, particularly in rural areas such as Angus.

NFU Scotland is also calling on local authorities to follow the lead of Angus Council, and seven other council areas, and ban the use of Chinese sky lanterns.

The paper lanterns, which have a wire or wooden frame and contain a lighted candle, can be a danger to animals and are a proven fire hazard to stacks of hay and straw, woodland and farm buildings. If they land within crops grown to feed livestock, the frames risk being ingested causing great harm to the animals.

The union is also reminding those involved in private or public firework displays to take the time to consider any livestock that may be nearby and to avoid causing them any unnecessary stress.

Penny Johnston, animal health and welfare policy manager, said: “Sky lanterns are seemingly innocent, and are beautiful to look at, but they can cause untold damage as there is no control over where these burning structures of paper, metal and wood decide to land.

“Fireworks are a long-established part of the celebrations at this time of year and we don’t want to stop anyone having fun. However, given the noise and bright lights, it is unsurprising that each bonfire night also brings a few reports of cattle, sheep, horses and dogs being scared and traumatised when fireworks are set off irresponsibly.

“The fantastic autumn weather means that many livestock can still be found in the fields around cities, towns and villages.

“Taking the time to inform their keepers of any planned or private firework displays may prevent any unnecessary suffering.

“Where livestock have been housed for the winter in sheds that are close to public places, consideration should be given to the well-being of the animals before any fireworks are set off nearby.”