This Is Why You Need to Avoid Reindeer Displays This Christmas

Posted by on December 3, 2019 | Permalink

For reindeer used as living props across the UK, Christmas is the least wonderful time of the year.

Every holiday season, reindeer are hauled across the country and forced into stressful situations so people can gawk at them. Life for animals exploited in this way is a far cry from a Christmas miracle – it’s a tragedy.

An investigation by Animal Aid uncovered that reindeer who are used in various Christmas displays were kicked and that some suffered from diarrhoea, skeletal abnormalities, and raw, exposed skin.

Reindeer belong in the Arctic and subarctic regions of the world, where they live in herds and roam freely over vast open ranges.

Being carted around from one display to another, kept in tiny sheds and pens, forced to pull sleighs, and exposed to bright lights and loud noises prevents them from engaging in any of their natural types of behaviour.

According to research from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, a poor diet, exposure to diseases carried by other animals, and the stress of being removed from their natural environment have contributed to an increase in deaths among young reindeer used in the UK.

When they’re denied the opportunity to roam across long distances, their hooves can grow too long, a serious condition that can be debilitating. They can also contract parasites carried by domestic animals.

There are many other ways for people to celebrate the holidays that are more in keeping with the Christmas spirit than treating animals like decorations – they deserve a happy holiday season, too.

How You Can Help

If you learn of any events in your local area that will feature live animals, please write to the organisers and ask them to rethink their plans. Here’s a template letter you can use if you’re not certain what to say. 

Ending the exploitation of reindeer and other animals would do nothing to diminish the sense of magic we look for during the festive season – for these animals, though, it would make a world of difference.