The RSPCA advise against the use of Chinese lanterns and recommend the use of harmless alternatives instead.
What harm can be caused by a Chinese lantern?
Chinese lanterns can cause injury, suffering, and even death, through:
Livestock (e.g. cattle) can eat or become caught in lantern debris in grazing vegetation, or eat lantern parts that have been accidentally chopped into animal feed during harvest.
If an animal eats sharp lantern parts, these can tear and puncture the throat, stomach or internal organs causing internal bleeding or, in worst cases, death.
An animal that has become trapped or entangled in a fallen lantern can suffer from injury, stress and panic as itl struggles to free itself.
A wild animal that cannot free itself may eventually die from starvation.
There is the added risk of fire caused by lanterns that fall to the ground whilst still alight - this can destroy habitats and set fire to animal housing, feed and bedding.
Evidence of the dangers of Chinese lanterns
Don’t be fooled into thinking that ‘biodegradable’ lanterns are safe! Bamboo can take decades to degrade and the sharp parts can cause injury to animals, plus they still pose a fire risk.