YOUR TEXAS AGRICULTURE MINUTE
It’s time to take air out of balloon releases
By Gary Joiner
Texas livestock owners know a balloon release is no time to celebrate.
However well-intentioned, the release can be deadly for cattle and other livestock miles away.
Some of the balloons released eventually land in pastures or become entangled in fences. Curious animals find them. The balloons and the strings attached are chewed and swallowed. The animals often die, as a result.
Public awareness of the danger is key.
And the Texas Legislature is considering making a balloon release a Class C misdemeanor to get everyone’s attention.
HB 3300 by State Rep. Bobby Guerra of McAllen is straightforward. You break the law if you knowingly release a balloon into the air outside a roofed structure or if you organize, sponsor or promote an event in which balloons are released.
There are defenses to prosecution, as well, for those activities that are scientific or authorized by a governmental entity.
It’s heartbreaking for an animal to die because of a stray balloon. The Texas Legislature has a chance to take the air out of these balloon releases and reduce the risk.
That would be an outcome Texas ranchers would celebrate.
The preceding commentary is brought to you by Texas Farm Bureau, the “Voice of Texas Agriculture.” Called “Your Texas Agriculture Minute,” TFB will issue thought-provoking editorials each week—via print and audio—to spark understanding of agriculture in the Lone Star State and its impact on each and every Texan.
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