Members of the public have been urged to back a campaign to ban “fatal” sky lanterns.

RSPCA Cymru has made progress in its aim to have the lanterns banned across Wales, with 17 of 22 local authorities forbidding their release on their land.

But with five councils left, and Halloween and Bonfire Night approaching, the charity is reiterating warnings of the dangers the lanterns pose to animals.

“The devices – which are lifted into the air via an open flame heat source – can be ingested by animals, or cause entanglement or entrapment,” said an RSPCA Cymru spokesman. “This can lead to wildlife, pets, horses or farm animals suffering injury, stress or even death.

“When ingested the sharp parts of sky lanterns can tear and puncture an animal’s throat or stomach causing internal bleeding.

“Lanterns also pose danger as a fire hazard – destroying habitats and potentially setting animal housing, feed and bedding alight. Marine life is also endangered by lanterns falling into the sea.”

H&H has reported on a number of equine fatalities and injuries caused by sky lanterns, including a young event horse burned in his field, and a thoroughbred who had to be put down after he ingested part of a lantern.

“It’s important people know sky lanterns can be fatal to animals,” said RSPCA Cymru political campaign manager Martin Fidler Jones.

“Ultimately, what goes up, must come down – and when these lanterns return to land, animals are at risk.”

The charity is asking people to sign its petition.

“There’s been considerable progress in recent years, with more and more local authorities backing the RSPCA’s campaign, and implementing local bans on their land,” Mr Fidler Jones added.

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“While an outright ban remains the RSPCA’s objective, this is an important step forward, and makes a big statement about the dangers these lanterns pose to animals.

“RSPCA Cymru hopes the remaining five councils in Wales will soon take action; we’re urging members of the public to back our campaign, and tell local authorities they want to keep animals safe by keeping sky lanterns grounded.”

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