Use your voice to end live reindeer displays

It’s time to put an end to live reindeer displays. Reindeer belong in the Artic Tundra, roaming for hundreds of miles, not displayed as Christmas props in busy and noisy shopping centres.

The transportation of reindeer to these displays and their exposure to loud noise, bright lights, music and inappropriate environments can cause them much stress. As prey animals, reindeer are very good at hiding this stress and problems related to these stressful Christmas environments may not manifest until some time after the event.

As we approach the holiday season, we’ve once again begun to campaign for an end to live reindeer displays, by calling on venues across Scotland to use animal-free methods of entertainment instead.

How can I help?

You can help us end live reindeer displays by taking a moment to send an email to venues in Scotland, urging them to instead use animal-free methods of entertainment.

We’ve compiled a list of impactful points to mention in your email:

  • Many councils have taken the decision to not feature live reindeer in their Christmas celebrations this year, including:
    • Argyll & Bute Council
    • Dundee City Council
    • East Lothian Council
    • Edinburgh City Council
    • Falkirk Council
    • Fife Council
    • Glasgow City Council
    • Inverclyde Council
    • North Ayrshire Council
  • The transportation of reindeer can cause them stress.
  • Exposure to loud noise, bright lights, music and inappropriate environments can cause the reindeer stress.
  • There are a range problems documented in captive UK reindeer. You can include any of the following: poor muscle development, weight loss, a difficulty gaining weight, diarrhoea, malformed antlers and stunted antler growth.
  • Ask them to reconsider using live reindeer, if they are planning to exhibit them. If you wanted to propose any simple, animal-free alternatives that would be great!

Template email to guide you

Here is a template email you can use as a guide, but please personalise yours as much as possible to have the most impact.

Hi,

I’m writing to you as I have seen that you will be using live reindeers in your Christmas event this year. I urge you to please reconsider on animal welfare grounds.

Sadly, these type of events are detrimental to the welfare of reindeer. The transportation of the reindeer, exposure to loud noise, bright lights, music and unnatural environments can be stressful for these animals. Reindeer are also prey animals and so can be very good at hiding stress, therefore their distress may not be visible to the handlers and members of the public, and problems arriving from this distress can actually manifest some time after the event.

Specialist deer vets have also reported a number of issues in captive reindeer in the UK, including poor muscle development, weight loss, malformed antlers and high calf mortality.

I ask that you please reconsider your decision to display these beautiful animals, that belong in herds roaming for hundreds of miles, so that no animals need suffer for festive fun. Many councils have taken the decision to not feature live reindeer in their Christmas celebrations this year.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Best wishes,

xx

How to email multiple venues

To save on time, you can create one email and bcc in each email address. That way you only need to create one email, but each venue will receive the email. Make sure to bcc and not cc, otherwise the venues will be able to see that this is a mass email and are unlikely to respond. If you bcc, the venues will only be able to see that you have emailed them.

Below you can find a list of emails for venues planning to host reindeer displays in Scotland this year:

Urging venues to use animal-free entertainment

We recently sent a joint letter with Born Free Foundation, Animal Aid and Freedom For Animals to these venues, explaining the animal welfare issues of reindeer displays and urging them not to take part in this cruelty.

While some venues responded positively, others have not replied or have yet to commit to ending the use of live reindeer. However, this is just the beginning of our campaign.

With venues like Mercat Shopping Centre no longer hosting live reindeer, and Aberdeen City Council pulling funding for these displays - we know that public pressure works. That’s why we’re asking you to join us and use your voice to show venues that the public does not support the exploitation of reindeer.

Thank you so much for taking the time to help us put an end to reindeer displays. We will keep you updated as venues respond to our letters and we plan our next campaign steps.