Wel­fare fears see Christ­mas rein­deer event axed by cen­tre

Solihull News - - FAITH MATTERS - CHAR­LOTTE PAX­TON char­lotte. pax­[email protected] reach­plc. com

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

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