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

For Immediate Release:

18 December 2015


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


PETA Calls On the Romford Christmas Market to Keep Live Animals out of Holiday Festivities

Romford, London– This morning, PETA campaign coordinator Kirsty Henderson sent a letter to Councillor Roger Ramsey, leader of Havering Council encouraging him 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 commercial centre filled with noisy shoppers, bright lights and excited children is an entirely unsuitable environment for reindeer. Contact with people is something they normally avoid, and they’ll be unnecessarily subjected to the stress of travel. Using animals as backdrops in public displays is not only cruel but also dangerous, as humans are at risk of injury should the animals run amok.

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

Henderson’s letter is available below. For more information, please visit


Councillor Roger Ramsey


Havering Council

18 December 2015

Vie e-mail: [email protected]

Dear Councillor Ramsey,

I am writing on behalf of PETA UK – an affiliate of PETA US, which is the largest animal rights organisation in the world and has more than 3 million members and supporters – after we heard that Romford Christmas Market plans to hold a Christmas event with reindeer on 21 December. We urge you to remove animals from this event and adopt a policy against having live animals at future festivities in Havering.

A busy attraction such as Romford Market 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. When they’re used as holiday “props”, reindeer are denied the opportunity to engage in natural behaviour or roam freely over vast open ranges as they would in their natural circumpolar habitat.

Many health and welfare issues are raised by uprooting reindeer and transporting them in captive situations many degrees south of their normal range. Those who hire them out to make a few fast pounds at Christmas often do not understand the animals they are buying or the basic facts about them. According to research at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, 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.

The whole phenomenon of taking reindeer out on the road, putting them in pens and treating them as if they were just Christmas decorations is unacceptable, and we should not be encouraging such an unethical and abusive trend. We don’t want our kids to grow up thinking that live animals exist merely for our entertainment. Ending the use of reindeer and other animals would do nothing to diminish children’s sense of the magic of the holiday season. For these animals, though, it would make a world of difference.

The holiday season is supposed to be about joy and peace. There are many other ways that Romford’s residents could celebrate this Christmas that would not compromise the well-being of animals.

Please make the humane decision not to use live animals at this event and also make a formal commitment to avoiding future events that promote the exploitation of animals.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We hope to inform our members that Havering Council will agree not to use reindeer or other animals at future events.

Yours sincerely,

Kirsty Henderson

Campaign Coordinator