Celebrate with care!

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Britain’s foremost equestrian charity, The British Horse Society (BHS), is calling for people to spare a thought for four-legged-friends as they arrange celebrations in coming weeks.

As Olympic fever hits Britain, there will hopefully be many an occasion to celebrate. However, some forms of celebration can be hazardous for our pets and livestock.

Chinese Lanterns for example are a pretty sight flying across the sky at night, but the potential for harm when they descend is catastrophic. The BHS has received terrible reports of internal and external injuries to horses and other livestock caused by wires from these lanterns. Many who marvel at the sight would be horrified to learn of the injuries and deaths horses and other animals have experienced due to these lanterns that are intended to celebrate and bring good luck.

The charity urges everyone to enjoy the excitement of the next few weeks, but offers this simple advice to ensure their celebrations don’t end in disaster for our equine friends.

· Chinese Lanterns – The British Horse Society has been made aware of many ‘novelty’ lanterns, one of which is a Union Jack design. Clearly, these would be fitting for release this summer. However, there is no way of controlling which way they travel or where they land. Please think carefully before releasing them.

· Fireworks – If you are planning a fireworks display please consider contacting any nearby horse owners. Site the display as far away as possible from horses, barns or stables.

· Car decorations – Horses are likely to be startled by the loud flutter that car window flags generate. When passing horses with car-mounted flags on your car, slow down even more and give horses a wider berth when overtaking. Please consider flying flags only on the offside of your vehicle to allow more room between the horse and the flag.

Sheila Hardy, BHS Senior Executive (Safety), said: “The BHS is as excited as anyone about the forthcoming Olympic Games and wishes in no way to dampen spirits. However, abiding by these simple measures could make the world of difference for our four-legged-friends.”

For further information, pictures or case studies please contact: Alison Coleman, The British Horse Society, 02476 840463 or a.coleman@bhs.org.uk

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