Misery continues for reindeer

Posted on the 3rd December 2019

Animal Aid investigators returned to Kent Reindeer Centre this year,
following our exposé of 2018, which revealed reindeer suffering and even
being abused.

The footage we captured last year showed reindeer with signs of ill health such as diarrhoea and fur loss. But worst of all we saw reindeer kicked by a staff member and another had a gate slammed in her face.

We wanted to see that this has ended. But our return visit in January showed that the misery and exploitation continues.

We were dismayed by what we saw. Reindeer still appeared to be underweight and in poor condition and are still being exploited in the name of entertainment. We saw several reindeer displaying heavy scour (diarrhoea), possibly due to being fed a poor quality diet.

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Following our exposé last year, we were notified by concerned animal-lovers of multiple events, up and down the country, not only involving reindeer but also other animals. Ponies dressed up as unicorns, penguins at an ice rink – the list goes on.

We contacted 145 shopping centres, local authorities and other establishments, which had planned to host events involving reindeer or other animals. Thankfully, around 36 reindeer appearances were cancelled, whilst a few went ahead but substituted reindeer for other animals.

Whilst we are encouraged by the decisions of so many organisations to choose cruelty-free options when planning their events, we are also very concerned that establishments such as Kent Reindeer Centre continue, not only to hold events on site, they also offer reindeer for hire, and petting experiences with other species, including reptiles and owls.

What is even more worrying is that members of the public are still visiting these cruel events, despite the media coverage our campaign generated last year showing the reality of the misery inflicted upon these gentle animals.

Help us to end this

We want to see an end to the use of reindeer, or any other animal for festive entertainment.

Please help us to do this by supporting our undercover investigations with a donation. It is through this vital exposure that we can change public attitudes, and secure a permanent end to this practice.

Please donate now

Best wishes and season’s greetings

Isobel Hutchinson

P.S. You can also order a free Antler Action pack, containing ways in which you can campaign to stop the use of live captive reindeer at these events.

What happens to reindeer in the UK?

Through a Freedom of Information request, Animal Aid has discovered that in the last 12 months, 19 reindeer carcasses have been subject to autopsy by the Animal and Plant Health Agency, a government department within DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural

Of those 19 reindeers the following were found:

  • 2-year-old female with a fractured pelvis
  • 1-week-old male with malnutrition
  • 8-month-old male, found dead, malignant catarrhal fever

The reports also list several cases of respiratory disease and wasting.

Clearly this is not natural and could well be due to the animals’ captive state.

In their natural habitat, reindeer can live up to 15 years of age. As herding animals, they roam and some species migrate up to 3,000 miles a year. This is a very different existence to those kept in captivity, fed an inappropriate diet and often transported to shopping and garden centres where they face bright lights, concrete or tiled floors and a constant stream of noisy, overly attentive humans.

reindeer with diarrhoea from 2019 investigation

Reindeer with diarrhoea from our 2019 investigation

Help us to stop this, by making a donation now.

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