Welfare fears see Christmas reindeer event axed by centre
A SOLIHULL shopping centre has axed a Christmas reindeer event – amid animal welfare concerns.
Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre has scrapped the Christmas reindeer visit – due to be held on December 8 – following a flurry of complaints.
The cancellation comes just days after undercover footage of alleged animal abuse at another centre emerged.
The secret recordings were made by the charity Animal Aid at The Reindeer Centre, near Ashford in Kent, and showed reindeer allegedly being kicked and screamed at by workers.
The footage prompted an outcry and the cancellation of dozens of festive reindeer events across the UK. Now the shopping centre, in Maple Walk, has announced the reindeer visit would no longer be going ahead – leaving them out of pocket.
It’s not the first animalbased event to be scrapped by the centre, who were forced to cancel a petting zoo at Easter following a number of complaints.
In a statement on their Facebook page, a Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre spokeswoman wrote: “We regret to inform you that due to the high number of grievances we have received against the rein- deer visiting the centre, we have made the decision to cancel the event.
“Although the reindeer would have been well looked after and would have been in a large shop unit away from crowds and noise, we appreciate that this may still cause upset to some people.
“The reindeer were booked through a small charity, whose sole aim is to enrich and enhance the lives of youngsters and their families living with illness, disability or lack of opportunity.
“We are still going to honour our donation to them, as they rely entirely on donations to run the charity. Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre would like to remind all our customers that no profit would have been made from this event whatsoever, it was purely booked to provide free Christmas entertainment.”
A representative for Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre said more than 100 complaints had been received about the event, leaving them with no option but to cancel.
The cancellation comes just days after eight live reindeer events were scrapped in the run- up to Christmas – after an undercover investigation showed a worker kicking one of the animals.
Animal Aid used hidden cameras at The Reindeer Centre near Ashford, Kent, which it said showed ‘ shocking’ abuse.
The animal rights group said eight businesses have now vetoed using live reindeer in their festive events.
A spokeswoman for Animal Aid said “captive reindeer events” were “simply not in the best interests of the reindeer, who should be living wild lives”.
Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre has scrapped a Christmas reindeer visit