A recent letter talked about releasing balloons into the environment (“Balloon releases harm wildlife,” May 17). Why do it? Free balloons have to come down somewhere — in pastures, on the water or on a neighbor’s property. I have personally found one inside a bale of hay as well as in the pasture that had metal ornaments on it that probably would have killed any cow that ate it. If an animal is grazing and picks up the string, they’ll just keep eating.

When I was a child, our milk cow, Sadie, got out of her pasture. While grazing on the lawn, she picked up the string of a kite that we had carelessly left on the ground. It was homemade — heavy, brown paper on a wooden frame — and it was hanging right on Sadie’s chin. I went to her rescue and, hand over hand, pulled yards of slimy, pea-green sting out of her stomach.

Cows are not the only creatures harmed by balloons. There are other grazing animals, turtles, sea birds, etc., that think that colorful plastic is some kind of food — even whales. Any plastic that we throw into our environment degrades it.

One year, I went to the Old Hallowell Days parade and there was a float in it asking that we protect our environment. All around the float there were green balloons with noble sounding slogans on them. After the parade, as we were leaving Hallowell, we went by the city garage where the float was being dismantled. The people with it were cutting the green balloons loose and the ballooons were floating out over the river. Who can we trust?


Ann Barry


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