Spare a thought for famous New Forest ponies this Jubilee weekend

Published Wednesday 30 May 2012

The New Forest National Park Authority is asking people to spare a thought for New Forest animals as they enjoy the Jubilee weekend celebrations.

The National Park is calling on revellers to steer clear of Chinese lanterns as the New Forest ponies and cattle can become injured after becoming entangled by the metal frames. The frames can also get chopped up with hay and eaten by people’s horses or fed to New Forest ponies in winter, which causes their stomachs to rupture and leads to an agonising death.

The flying candles, which can be taken great distances, can also set fire to thatched cottages and hay as well as causing harm to wildlife, people’s horses, and farm animals.

New Forest National Park Authority Chief Executive Alison Barnes said: ‘The New Forest has a rich royal history and was set up by William the Conqueror as his hunting playground over 900 years ago, so we are expecting a fantastic celebration in the Forest.

‘The Queen is the Surveyor of the New Forest and the Crown owns almost half the National Park, cared for by the Forestry Commission. It would be a huge shame if while celebrating Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee that some of the famous New Forest ponies suffered as a result.’

Tony Hockley of the New Forest Equine Association said both wire and bamboo-framed lanterns can still cause injury and death to animals. He said: ‘These lanterns are so dangerous in so many ways that no-one who cares for the countryside and the animals that graze it should even think about setting them off.’

The National Farmers’ Union is campaigning for a nationwide ban. NFU South East Environment Advisor John Archer said: ‘Nationally there have been numerous reports of crop fires caused by lanterns.

‘They have also caused a large number of cow deaths, with animals sometimes suffering slow and painful deaths after eating wire used in the lanterns’ construction.

‘We are confident that people are becoming increasingly aware that releasing lanterns is not always the harmless fun that it appears to be.’

-ends-

Notes to Editor:

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Media Contact:
Hilary Makin, Communications Manager, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646608
Email: hilary.makin@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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