Target: U.K. Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss
Goal: Don’t allow shopping centers to use live reindeer in their Christmas displays.
A garden center is using live reindeer to attract customers to their store in Esher, United Kingdom, despite the fact that a busy shopping center is a completely unsuitable environment for reindeer. Hired out to bring in shoppers and make a profit, these shy animals are sure to be stressed by being confined to a small pen among bustling crowds, not to mention bright lights, loud music and excited children. A shopping center in Liverpool is also using live reindeer to entertain Christmas crowds and additionally made the animals march through the city center’s busy streets in a parade last week.
Animal organizations have already spoken out against the use of these sentient beings in commercial displays, urging organizers to cancel these events or replace the live reindeer with props. However, these requests have been ignored and shopping center owners have opted to put profit above animal welfare.
PETA coordinator Kirsty Henderson said that “using live animals in these sorts of events sends a damaging message that animals are little more than living props,” adding that there were far better ways to celebrate Christmas than treating scared animals like decorations. She also mentioned the health and welfare issues involved. Increased exposure to disease, a change in diet and the stress of being removed from their natural environment are believed to have contributed to increased deaths among reindeer in the U.K.
Urge the U.K. government to take animal welfare seriously and stop allowing live reindeer to be displayed in shopping centers and parades.
Dear Mrs. Truss,
Various shopping centers are using live reindeer in their Christmas displays, despite the crowds, noise, and bright lights of busy commercial areas being no place for these naturally shy animals. It has been reported that reindeer used in these exhibits suffer from increased exposure to disease, change in diet, and the stress of being removed from their natural environment, all of which have contributed to an increase in deaths of young reindeer in the U.K.
No matter how well the centers claim the reindeer are treated, there remain serious moral and ethical implications in exhibiting live animals in crowded streets and shopping centers. As PETA rightly points out, “using live animals in these sorts of events sends a damaging message that animals are little more than living props.” Indeed, there are far better ways to celebrate Christmas than treating scared animals like decorations.
I urge you to take action for animal welfare by no longer allowing live reindeer to be displayed in Christmas exhibits around the country.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Adrian Pingstone