Example letter to organisers who may consider a live reindeer event

Below is an example letter to send to an event organiser. If you can, please personalise it, as personal letters will have more impact.

Dear [event organiser],

I am writing to you as a local resident with regard to any plans you may have to host festive animal events this coming year, particularly using live reindeer. I would like to express my opposition to the use of live animals in events and encourage you to find cruelty-free alternatives and implement a policy avoiding such events in future.

It may seem a little early to mention Christmas, but I am keen to request your support in advance of booking your festive events.

These events attract crowds of often noisy, excitable people, demanding interaction, with nowhere for reindeer to retreat to. This can cause great distress to these sensitive animals. They are often transported up and down the country to be exhibited. Behind the scenes they are unable to roam the vast distances that they would in their natural home in Arctic tundra. As herding animals, they roam widely, and some species migrate up to 3,000 miles a year. This is a very different existence to those kept in captivity, often by inexperienced handlers and often fed an inappropriate diet.

Please take a moment to watch a film made by national campaign group Animal Aid – ‘Animals in Festive Events’ which highlights the animal welfare issues and reputational risks of running events with live reindeer, available on their YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/NoToReinde

Over the course of 2018, Animal Aid extensively investigated what happens when reindeer are ‘off duty’ on farms and uncovered:

  • A worker kicking and shouting at reindeer
  • Reindeer with raw-looking exposed skin
  • Animals with heavy diarrhoea
  • Animals stuck out on a concrete yard with seemingly no opportunity to graze

The group investigated three different reindeer centres and were shocked at what the cameras revealed about the lives of these animals when out of public view.

Animal Aid investigators returned the next year. Despite all the negative publicity, reindeer still appeared to be underweight and in poor condition. Several reindeer displayed heavy scour (diarrhoea) at one reindeer centre.

Animal Aid’s investigations have received extensive coverage across a range of media. From an exclusive piece in the Independent to other outlets including BBC Radio Kent, South East Today, KMTV, The Independent, The Sun, The Metro, BBC News, Channel 5 News, The Evening Standard, Kent Online and Kent Live. There has also been a huge public outcry in response to the investigation, with many vowing never to support captive reindeer events.

37 organisations including Notcutts Garden Centres, Leeds Castle and Sevenoaks Town Council have previously cancelled reindeer appearances at events, with many vowing not to have festive captive animal displays going forwards.

A further 50 organisations such as garden centres, schools, shopping centres and councils moved away from hosting live animal events in 2019. These events are highly controversial with much public sentiment turning against such cruel displays.

With an awareness of the pressure on organisations to provide crowd-drawing, family entertainment, Animal Aid have put together a range of fun alternative ideas to suit a range of budgets and tastes: https://bit.ly/AnimalFreeEvents

In light of the above, please can you confirm that you will not be hosting any festive events using live reindeer or other captive animals?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,


[your name here]
Local resident