They want NHS trusts, care home groups, garden centres and pub chains to stop using the animals
Eleven animal welfare charities have signed an open letter to 225 organisations, asking them to cease the use of live reindeer in their Christmas celebrations.
They want NHS trusts, care home groups, garden centres and pub chains to stop using the animals, citing serious welfare concerns.
The open letter was also sent to local authorities across the UK to ask that they review their policy on the use of reindeer in events.
This comes following the release of a new report that highlights the negative welfare impacts of these events on reindeer.
In the new report, Dr Tayla Hammond, an expert in animal welfare and behaviour, explores the welfare needs of captive reindeer used for entertainment events in the UK, and ultimately recommends that the use of reindeer in entertainment events is ceased. It states that the unnatural environment and lack of agency (the ability to make free choices or have control over aspects of their lives) associated with these events are likely to lead to psychological distress and a state of poor welfare in reindeer.
Animal welfare charities, OneKind, Animal Aid, Born Free and Freedom for Animals are leading the campaign to end live reindeer displays across the UK.
OneKind campaigner, Eve Massie Bishop, said: “This report confirms what we have been saying for years; reindeer used in Christmas events across the UK are likely to be suffering from psychological distress and in a state of poor welfare. We simply cannot justify the suffering of these animals for our entertainment.
“We would urge people not to visit any events that exploit these animals for entertainment and instead celebrate the festivities at animal-friendly events. As the report highlights, reindeer are sentient beings with complex needs. They are not Christmas props.
“Christmas is a time of joy, kindness and generosity. We must extend this sentiment to non-human animals too.”
Read the open letter here: