Spread some festive cheer to Ruldoph and his friends this Christmas!

Posted on the 20th October 2021

Festive events involving live reindeer and other animals have become popular in recent years in the UK, with reindeer either on display in a pen, in garden centres or shopping precincts, or led along a busy street as part of a Christmas parade.

The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on captive reindeer events in 2020, with very few taking place. While this gave many reindeer a break from these highly stressful events, we are concerned that events using live animals may increase again now that ‘normal’ life is resuming. 

Reindeer are sensitive wild animals who are adapted to live in a cold climate, roaming great distances each day, foraging for lichen, herbs and other plants. They do not cope well with the stress of captivity or to being transported up and down the country to different events. These shy animals can be on display for hours on end, exposed to bright lights and noisy crowds, with nowhere to hide. These conditions can be hugely stressful and can have severe impacts on the health and welfare of these gentle creatures. 

Animal Aid’s previous investigations at UK reindeer farms uncovered shocking suffering. This included deliberate animal abuse, with workers filmed kicking and shouting at reindeer. We also saw unhealthy-looking animals with raw and exposed skin, diarrhoea and skeletal abnormalities.  

Watch our Animals In Festive Events film for more information:


Animal Aid are calling on event organisers to stop using live reindeer for their festivities and we are asking the public to boycott these events. As a response to our campaign in previous years, we have had many organisations, including Notcutts Garden Centres, Leeds Castle and Sevenoaks Town Council, cancelling reindeer appearances at their events, with many vowing not to have festive animal displays in the future.  

Please let us know if you hear of any events planned in your area, that will include live reindeer, so that we can encourage the organisers to find kinder ways to celebrate Christmas. You can help by ordering an ‘Antler Action pack’. Your pack will include sample letters to send to local event organisers and the editor of your local newspaper, as well as facts about reindeer and ideas for how to have a fun and compassionate Christmas.

 Thank you for your support.  

Order a free 'Antler Action' pack

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