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Reindeer firm fears backlash from animal rights group

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Reindeer firm fears Peta could disrupt Christmas parades

A reindeer supplier in Scotland is urging organisers of festive parades to avoid publicity for fear of intervention by animal rights activists.

Last month People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), the global animal rights group, wrote to a number of councils imploring them not to use the animals in their Christmas parades.

Now the biggest supplier of the animals in Scotland – Cairngorm Reindeer Herd in Aviemore – is warning councils and organistions to prepare for protests by the activists.

In a bid to avoid any intervention or disruption, the company asked fans on its Facebook page not to refer to the locations of its jobs on the social media site.

“Can we ask you all to please not mention any the locations of any of our Christmas parades here on Facebook, as we don't want any of their organisers to get targeted by animal rights folks.

“We know our reindeer are very happy and comfortable in their work – otherwise we wouldn't take them to the parades – as we are the ones who work with them day in, day out and know them all extremely well,” a post read.

We're erring on the side of caution by asking people not to mention details

Cairngorm Reindeer Herd’s Tilly Smith said: “We feel it would open a can of worms if we publicised where we are going.

“We're erring on the side of caution by asking people not to mention details. We believe the protesters are aiming to stop venues from hiring us.”

Earlier this year Peta campaign coordinator Kirsty Henderson penned a letter to numerous local authorities asking them not to involve reindeer in parades she deemed "entirely unsuitable".

“A busy commercial centre filled with noisy shoppers, bright lights and excited children is an entirely unsuitable environment for reindeer or any other animals.

“These beautiful animals belong in the Arctic and subarctic regions of the world.”

Glasgow Council plans to use some of the animals in its Glasgow on Ice display. However the council said the animals would be put under no distress and would be professionally handled.

The reindeer from the Cairngorm Herd are the only ones in the country which enjoy a free-roaming habitat in the Scottish Highlands.

According to the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd they are visited by groups of tourists in the wild, and, say organisers, interact with humans willingly.

When travelling to events across the country, they stay in temporary, farmland bases and are transported in lorries with spacious boxes of straw.