I READ with great anxiety that the opening ceremony at London 2012 will involve live animals, including cows, sheep and chickens (Echo, June 13).

It is hard to imagine a more inappropriate setting for animals than amid the thunderous crowds and fireworks of such a ceremony.

Sheep are particularly fearful of loud noises and farmers have reported that they may spontaneously abort during fireworks displays.

In 2008, the noise of a hot air balloon killed 300 chickens on a Herefordshire farm.

More worrying still, if horses become frightened, there could be human casualties, as well as animal.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to cause physical or mental suffering, “where this is unnecessary and the person knew or could be expected to know that an animal would suffer as a result”.

The 1988 Seoul ceremony was seriously tarnished by doves being burnt to death in the Olympic flame. Is London prepared to be seen in an equally negative light?

Kate Fowler, Head of campaigns, Animal Aid.