A Bristol firework shop is to stop stocking Chinese lanterns after a charity showed bosses images of injured animals.
The Skyburst shop in Bedminster sells around 1,000 lanterns a year but has now taken them off the shelves following an RSPCA report.
The lanterns are used at celebrations, weddings and memorials and are made using a paper covered wire or bamboo frame with an open flame lit to keep the structure afloat.
They can rise up to 500 metres, travelling for miles under certain conditions and burning for up to five minutes.
But when they fall to earth animals can eat or become entangled in the debris – leading to internal bleeding and often death. Lantern splinters can also cause painful infections and there is the added risk of fire if one remains alight.
The lanterns have already been banned in several countries including Australia, Germany and Thailand.
Skyburst shop manager Deb Christie said: “We always tried to be conscientious when it came to Chinese Lanterns and we only sold the bio-degradable kind in the shop. However, after seeing a report by the RSPCA about the damage caused, even by the environmentally-friendly versions, we took them off the shelves straight away.
“Although they were one of our most popular products, the fact that they can cause injury by ingestion, entanglement and entrapment to the local livestock and wildlife means it is not worth the risk for us.”
She is now encouraging other Bristol retailers to follow suit. “I’d like to warn people purchasing them to avoid cheap ‘pound-shop’ versions which are often very bad quality and even more dangerous.”