Should reindeer be banned from pulling Santa’s sleigh during the holiday season? This question has been raised by 11 animal welfare charities in an open letter to 225 organizations. The letter urges them to stop using live reindeer at their Christmas celebrations. In addition, local authorities across the UK have also received the letter, requesting a review of their policies regarding the use of reindeer at events. Leading the campaign to end live reindeer shows in the UK are animal welfare charities OneKind, Animal Aid, Born Free, and Freedom for Animals.
According to OneKind campaigner, Eve Massey Bishop, reindeer used in Christmas shows across the UK may suffer psychological distress and poor welfare. She argues that it is unjustifiable to subject these animals to suffering for our entertainment. Bishop encourages people to boycott events that exploit reindeer and instead attend animal-friendly events. She highlights that reindeer are sensitive creatures with complex needs and should not be treated as mere Christmas decorations.
However, Tilly Smith, co-director of the Cairngorm Reindeer Center near Aviemore, opposes the ban. She argues that the letter mischaracterizes reindeer as wild animals that become stressed when in close proximity to humans. Smith asserts that reindeer are actually domesticated animals and have developed a unique relationship with humans. She compares their affinity for humans to that of dogs, stating that the reindeer at the center are comfortable around people and willingly interact with visitors.
The Cairngorm Reindeer Center is a popular attraction where thousands of people visit each year to observe the reindeer in their natural habitat. Smith emphasizes that the reindeer are docile, calm, and well-trained animals, making them suitable for events. She believes that a well-trained and habituated reindeer, together with other members of the herd, does not pose any problems in an urban setting. Smith suggests that taking a reindeer to a city event is different from taking a pet dog under similar circumstances.
In conclusion, while some animal welfare charities call for a ban on the use of live reindeer at Christmas celebrations, the Cairngorm Reindeer Center argues that reindeer are domesticated animals and can be part of these events without compromising their welfare.
Q: Why are animal welfare charities calling for a ban on the use of live reindeer at Christmas celebrations?
A: The animal welfare charities are concerned about the potential psychological distress and poor welfare that reindeer may experience during these events. They consider it unethical to subject animals to suffering for entertainment purposes.
Q: Who is leading the campaign to end live reindeer shows in the UK?
A: OneKind, Animal Aid, Born Free, and Freedom for Animals are the leading animal welfare charities advocating for the ban.
Q: What is the argument against the ban?
A: The Cairngorm Reindeer Center near Aviemore argues that reindeer are domesticated animals and have a unique relationship with humans. They believe that well-trained and habituated reindeer can participate in events without compromising their welfare.
Q: Are reindeer suitable for city events?
A: According to the Cairngorm Reindeer Center, reindeer are calm, docile, and comfortable around people. They assert that a well-trained reindeer, along with other members of the herd, can participate in city events without causing any issues.
Q: Can reindeer be compared to pet dogs?
A: Yes, the co-director of the Cairngorm Reindeer Center compares reindeer’s affinity for humans to that of dogs. She explains that the reindeer at the center willingly interact with visitors and choose to spend time with humans, even when roaming freely in the mountains.