Kent Christmas Event Under Fire for Cruel Plans to Feature Live Reindeer

For Immediate Release:

24 November 2017


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 222; [email protected]


PETA Calls On Leeds Castle to Keep Live Animals out of Holiday Festivities

Kent – PETA Campaigns Strategist Luke Steele has sent a letter to the management of Leeds Castle encouraging it to cancel plans to use live reindeer in scheduled Christmas-themed events.

In the letter, PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – notes that a busy attraction such as the castle’s Christmas Market, filled with excited children and other visitors, is an entirely unsuitable environment for reindeer. These beautiful animals belong in the Arctic and subarctic regions of the world. When used as holiday “props”, they’re denied the opportunity to engage in natural behaviour or roam freely over vast open ranges as they would in their native circumpolar habitat.

Numerous health and welfare issues occur when reindeer are uprooted and transported in captivity many degrees south of their normal range. People who hire them out at Christmas often lack even a basic understanding of their needs. A poor diet, exposure to the diseases of 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, according to research published in a British Veterinary Association journal. Dr John Fletcher, founder of the Veterinary Deer Society, echoes this concern, saying, “[Reindeer] are not well able to cope with the stress of captivity, and most of the diseases we see [in the UK] in reindeer are stress-related.”

“Using live animals in these sorts of events sends a damaging message to young people that animals are little more than living props,” Steele . “There are many other ways that the people of Kent could celebrate the holidays that would be far more in keeping with the Christmas spirit than treating scared animals like decorations.”

Steele’s letter is available upon request. For more information, please visit