Inspirational Reindeer Champions of 2021

Posted on the 7th December 2021

We would like to thank all our supporters who have used their voices to speak out on behalf of the reindeer and other animals used in festive events this year. We are so grateful to those of you who have been in touch to tell us about events and who have emailed event organisers to urge them to find more compassionate ways to celebrate Christmas.

Here are a few of the amazing ways supporters around the UK have been helping stop reindeer exploitation so far this year:


A group of animal rights campaigners in Hampshire were shocked to learn that their local council in Fareham were planning to use live reindeer for a Christmas lights event. They sent numerous emails urging the council to reconsider, but they sadly, decided to go ahead. Despite assurances from the Council, about how the reindeer would be looked after, the campaigners were not convinced, so they attended the event to gather photos and videos. 

The campaigners were horrified to find the reindeer in a small pen in Fareham’s town centre, opposite a busy McDonalds, after their two-hour journey, rather than the quieter location which they had been told these sensitive animals would have. Sadly, the animals were subjected to crowds of noisy, excitable people, demanding interaction, with nowhere to retreat to. At the event, the concerned activists were told the reindeer had been hired from Kent Reindeer Centre. This is where Animal Aid have previously uncovered deliberate abuse in an undercover investigation. The activists will continue their discussions with the event organisers and local councillors and are hopeful that this will prevent the further exploitation of live animals at future events. Since the Fareham event, the group have started a similar campaign against the use of live animals in festive events in Lee-on-the-Solent.  

2022 Update: Fareham Borough Council have confirmed that they will not be using live animals as an attraction at any event, including those at Christmas. 


Caroline¬†got in touch in back in October, as she was appalled to learn that¬†Silcock‚Äôs Winter Wonderland¬†in Manchester¬†were¬†planning to¬†have live reindeers at their¬†month-long¬†event.¬†Like Animal Aid, she emailed the¬†organisers several¬†times¬†to voice her concerns¬†but,¬†she¬†did not receive a response.¬†Undeterred, she decided to launch a petition which she shared as¬†widely¬†as possible on social media and on the¬†event¬†promoter’s¬†page. This¬†highlighted¬†the issues¬†to any potential customers, enabling them to make¬†an informed choice.¬†When the¬†petition gathered an amazing¬†47,000 signatures, Silcock‚Äôs contacted¬†Caroline to¬†inform her¬†they would not be using live reindeer at their event. Well¬†done,¬†Caroline, your¬†hard¬†work¬†and determination¬†paid off¬†for the reindeer.¬†This is massive testament to people power.¬†



Members of Exeter Friends for Animals (EFFA) have been writing to Exeter’s Winter Wonderland urging them to reconsider their use of reindeer at their event and instead asking them to consider alternatives. They also staged a peaceful protest outside the main entrance to raise awareness of the cruelty involved in festive events using live animals. The demonstration involved holding signs and handing out Animal Aid’s reindeer leaflets.  

One campaigner even dressed up as a reindeer. They said¬†‚ÄúThe costume was well worth using because it absolutely proved the point ‚Äď the kids loved it, and they could interact with the ‚Äúcartoon‚ÄĚ reindeer in a way they can‚Äôt with a live one. I did a silly dance, and they would giggle and have their photo taken with me. So much more entertaining!¬†We made a big point of saying we didn‚Äôt want to spoil anybody‚Äôs fun and we had a surprising amount of support from the public.‚Ä̬†

EFFA’s story appeared in Devon Live, their local newspaper, which will raise wider awareness of the issue. The group’s next step is to write to the city council and ask that all live animals be banned in events on their land. We wish you all the best with this EFFA!

Protesters outside Exeter's Winter Wonderland

North-East England

North-East Animal Rights (along with other AR groups and supporters) have been campaigning hard for several years against the use of camels in a local parade in South Tyneside. Following camels being dropped from this event, they have now turned their attention to the use of reindeer and other animals in festive events, in the North-East of England. The group, together with DATARA on Teesside (who successfully persuaded Raby Castle to drop reindeer), have worked together sending emails to the various event organisers explaining why events such as theirs can cause distress to these gentle animals. This year Рafter receiving information from the group, Dalton Park Reindeer Parade have agreed to look at alternatives next year and a local website, which was promoting reindeer events, has stopped doing so. Well done everyone!  

North-East Animal Rights plan to bring a life-size inflatable reindeer to Newcastle this year, to raise awareness and show the public how it is possible to have fun at Christmas without exploiting live animals. They have also produced a fantastic podcast on the use of reindeer in festive events, which they are sharing on social media to raise awareness of the issue. 

Take action for reindeer in your area

If these stories have inspired you to take action against a festive event using live animals in your area please get in touch with  

Animal Aid does not support illegal activity, violence or use of threatening language. Therefore, we would like to remind anyone contacting event organisers, either by email, phone, on social media or at an event itself, to remain polite at all times. Thank you.


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