Animals Used in Festive Events

Every year, Animal Aid campaigns to end the unnecessary and cruel use of animals in festive events. Events involving live reindeer and other animals have become popular in recent years, 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.

Watch our Animals in Festive Events Film 

Report A Festive Event using Live Animals

What is wrong with using animals for festive events? 

  1. Festive events typically involve bright lights and large excitable, noisy crowds. Being displayed for hours, or paraded along busy streets, these unfamiliar conditions can be hugely stressful for animals. This stress can have severe impacts on the health and welfare of reindeer and other animals. 
  2. Transportation to events can be stressful and may take many hours. 
  3. Animals, such as reindeer, are not adapted to life in the UK and can be susceptible to a range of serious health conditions. 
  4. Behind the scenes animals are at risk of abuse and ongoing suffering. Animal Aid’s undercover investigations into UK reindeer farms revealed appalling treatment, including deliberate abuse. 
  5. The use of animals as props for entertainment is cruel, demeaning and unnecessary. As a result of increasing public opposition, wild animals can no longer be used in circuses, however animals can still be forced to parade along streets for the amusement of crowds of people around Christmas time.  
  6. Public and animal health is at risk when animals come into contact with humans. When animals are frightened and stressed, they are more likely to try to bite, kick or to escape, possibly causing serious injuries. Furthermore, all animals naturally carry a range of microorganisms, some of which can have severe consequences when transmitted to humans, such as E. coli.  

Visit our webpages for more information on the issues affecting reindeer and other animals used at festive events. 

Take Action for Animals Used in Festive Events

What is Animal Aid doing to help animals used in festive events? 

  • Animal Aid works hard each year to educate the public and event organisers about the cruelty of using live animals in festive events.  
  • We have carried out undercover investigations at UK reindeer farms to expose the cruelty and suffering of these animals.  
  • We contact local councils asking them to ban the use of live animals in their festive events, explaining the reasons why. 
  • We support individuals and groups to undertake local campaigning and to stage protests. 
  • As a response to our campaign in previous years, many organisations, including Notcutts Garden Centres, Leeds Castle and Sevenoaks Town Council, have cancelled reindeer appearances at their events, with many vowing not to have festive animal displays in the future. 

Please support our campaign by considering a donation to Animal Aid. 


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