8th November 2023

You may remember that back in September we asked you to get involved to urgently object to a planning application to Wrexham County Borough Council. The plan was to convert land to a Christmas Tree farm with an attached reindeer farm, including a maternity bay to facilitate the birth of the next generation of captive animals. This week we heard the fantastic news that planning permission was to be refused.

Reindeer are semi-wild and belong in the vast Arctic Tundra, not a small patch of land in Wales. They are not props or visitor attractions, but living, feeling individuals, and the industry that exploits them needs to be wound down rather than expanded to new facilities.

Back in September when we asked our supporters to object to the planning application, we asked that objections focus on the environmental and local community impacts of the proposed development. This is because, sadly, planning authorities don’t take into account the harm that a site’s use will cause to the animals housed on it, only that to the wildlife already there and the local residents. Our letter template pointed out that the site in question would be unsuitable for housing a large herd of mammals and that this would negatively impact the existing ecosystem and species on site.

Ultimately, at Monday’s planning committee meeting, the planning application was refused on the grounds that “the proposed development is likely to increase in phosphate inputs within the River Dee and Bala Lake catchment. A likely significant effect upon the River Dee and Bala Lake SAC cannot be ruled out.” This stops the landowners, Tarvin Sands Fishery, from being able to expand their exploitative operation to a new site.

This is great news for Freedom for Animals, our supporters, but most importantly for captive reindeer who are so cruelly exploited in this country, particularly at this time of year.  The use of reindeer for entertainment is an industry that needs to be winding down, not expanding, and this planning refusal is a step in the right direction.

However, there is still so much work to do to protect reindeer in the UK. Our festive events campaign is well underway and this year we have partnered with 10 other charities to send a joint letter to businesses, councils, and event organisers to ask that they commit to reindeer-free Christmas celebrations this year and beyond. This is a campaign we have been running annually for many years now, and this year more than ever we are seeing huge success, as major events that we have campaigned against in previous years have told us that they are going animal-free this year. This includes the reindeer parades in Oldham and Hamilton and the Christmas Markets in Flintshire.



Our work is not done until there are no animals being exploited, and we need your help this year to object to the archaic events that are still planning to hire live reindeer this year despite expert advice. You can use our interactive map to see if there are events near you, and use the contact details and email template provided to object directly to the organisers. The map also shows events that have gone animal-free in green, so you can find family fun with no suffering in your local area!



If you discover an event in your area that plans to exploit reindeer, or any animal, report it to us so that we can contact the organisers and add it to the map if necessary.

Please also sign this petition, set up by our incredible supporter Caroline, to object to the continued exploitation of reindeer by Lapland UK.

And please support our work to end the use of all live animals for entertainment.