Peta blasts town for rein­deer pa­rade

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

ORGANISERS of a Christ­mas fair have come under fire from an an­i­mal wel­fare cam­paign group for us­ing rein­deer as “hol­i­day props”.

The an­nual Cow­bridge Rein­deer Pa­rade has been or­gan­ised by Vale of Glam­or­gan town cham­ber of trade for the past 20 years.

This year’s event takes place from noon to­mor­row and will in­clude a pa­rade of rein­deer through the town cen­tre.

After the pa­rade the rein­deer will be on dis­play in a pen be­hind the town hall.

An­i­mal rights cam­paign group Peta has claimed the event “isn’t a suit­able en­vi­ron­ment”.

In a let­ter to the cham­ber of trade, Peta cam­paigns strate­gist Luke Steele said: “A busy, brightly lit at­trac­tion such as the venue – packed with mem­bers of the pub­lic, in­clud­ing ex­cited chil­dren – isn’t a suit­able en­vi­ron­ment for shy wild an­i­mals such as rein­deer. Th­ese beau­ti­ful be­ings be­long in the Arc­tic and sub­arc­tic re­gions.

“When used as hol­i­day props, they’re de­nied the op­por­tu­nity to en­gage in nat­u­ral be­hav­iour, such as roam­ing freely across vast open ranges as they would in their na­tive habi­tat.”

Cam­paign­ers say nu­mer­ous wel­fare issues oc­cur when rein­deer are hired out for Christ­mas events. They say the stress of be­ing moved, a poor diet and ex­po­sure to dis­eases of­ten lead to health con­cerns for the rein­deer.

Mr Steele added: “...Treat­ing them as mere Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions is un­ac­cept­able.”

Chair­man of Cow­bridge Cham­ber of Trade Alun John said the rein­deer are sourced from Cairn­gorm Rein­deer Cen­tre, and he is sat­is­fied the do­mes­ti­cated an­i­mals are prop­erly cared for.

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