Reindeer Exploited in Pubs Throughout the UK


Pubs around the United Kingdom are using live reindeer and other animals at festive events in the run up to Christmas. The reindeer are used to entertain visitors as part of “Santa’s grotto” displays or used for photographs with paying visitors.

At Freedom for Animals we are used to seeing the wide range of venues these animals are taken to, from shopping centers to city high streets, as part of our campaign to end live animal use for festive events. But when we are now seeing animals being taken to pubs and bars, we can’t help but be even more concerned. Aside from the garden of a pub being a completely unsuitable environment for a semi-wild animal, these reindeer will be exposed to people under the influence of alcohol.

We have revealed how animals in zoos are impacted by loud noises and drunken visitors at “after hours” events and parties. Animals have had alcohol poured on them, been taunted by guests and have shown signs of stress from loud music.

Reindeer are sensitive animals who would naturally spend their days roaming in herds throughout the Arctic tundra. 

“Reindeer have adapted to live in the Arctic. They are not well able to cope with the stress of captivity, and most of the diseases we see here in reindeer are stress-related.” 

Dr. John Fletcher, founder of the Veterinary Reindeer Society

We are calling on event organizers to cancel these cruel events and urging the public to avoid any events that use live animals for entertainment. There are many ways to enjoy the holiday season without exploiting animals.

“With a ban on wild animal circuses about to come into force in England in just a matter of weeks, it is hard to understand why it is seen as any different to use reindeer in this way. Not only do reindeer have to travel long distances to these events, to make things worse these events are being held in venues that typically have loud noise, music and of course people under the influence of alcohol.”  

Freedom for Animals Campaigner, Laura Tomlinson

Using animals in this way sends a message that animals are props, rather than living beings. Indeed, many events which have used live animals in the past have now chosen to go “animal free” in response to public concerns regarding animal welfare.

Take Action!

Use the map at this link to contact event organizers today and ask them to cancel these cruel events. Let them know you will no longer support their business while they continue to exploit animals for entertainment. See a template letter here for what to say.

Also, contact us if you know of any pubs in your area using live animals this Christmas!

Featured image: reindeer at a holiday event in the UK. Image via Freedom for Animals.

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About Author

Freedom for Animals began as the Captive Animals' Protection Society in 1957 and is one of the UK’s longest-running charities working to protect animals. Through a combination of undercover investigations, research, campaigns, grassroots activism, political lobbying and education, our work for animals focuses predominantly on issues affecting those individuals held captive in circuses, zoos and aquariums, as well as those used in the television and film industry, live animal displays and the exotic pet trade. Click to see author's profile.

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