The last couple of months have been absolutely non-stop on the Animals in Festive Events campaign, with reports of animals being used at events from garden centres and reindeer parades to light switch-ons and even private events, coming in thick and fast.

Thanks to our supporters tipping us off about animals (mainly reindeer) being used at Christmas events, we have been able to compile our largest database yet and contacted more event organisers than ever before. And thanks to supporters and local activists we have had more success than ever in seeing events cancelled.

Reindeer events cancelled!

Since the campaign began in October we have registered nearly 30 cancellations of events with live reindeer country wide, and counting! The Animal Aid investigation into reindeer suppliers and breeding centres has aided substantially in event organisers backtracking on their decision to exhibit reindeer. We also put a large amount of our success down to working with local campaign groups to organise protests and our online supporters using social media to contact event organisers and councils.

One example of the perfect outcome is that of Rotherham council replacing this year’s planned reindeer parade with a music festival! A far more interactive, fun and educational way of bringing a community together than seeing a herd of frightened flight animals marched through noisy hordes of people, dogs and children! Congratulations to Rotherham council for reaching the compassionate decision to replace the parade with something so fantastic!

The process

So, what actually happens when someone informs us of an event? (click here for our event reporting form). Firstly the details are inputted into our database, then the event organisers are contacted and hopefully a dialogue is opened. If the organisers refuse to cancel (although this is often the case, it’s not all bad news, see below!) or if they ignore us, then we try to recruit a local campaign group to help us distribute leaflets, create a peaceful protest or set up an event online to register complaints. Often just knowing that a protest is due to take place is enough reason for organisers to cancel live animal events, even as short notice as the day before. Individuals can also use our template letter to make contact.

What happens now?

It’s only the beginning of December and there are still many events with reindeer planned to go ahead. We need your help to put pressure on those events organisers who at present are not responding to our pleas to cancel live reindeer. Please keep an eye on our social media pages to find out about regular online actions to contact events organisers and local protests.

Facebook, twitter

Moving forward

The majority of festive events with animals draw to a close at the end of December, but our work doesn’t end there. Early in the new year we will compile a report covering festive events that were hugely successful without the use of animals, ones which use innovative ideas and technology to replace live animals, and examples of educational and fun alternatives to live animal exploitation for entertainment at this time of year. We will be sending this to all councils and businesses that used animals at events this year. We will also be contacting those who cancelled live animal events or decided not to use them this year to ask them to pledge to NEVER use animals for future events.

Although events with animals, particularly reindeer, still appear to be relatively popular, we can sense a strong change in the tide of public opinion this year, with the RSPCA recently reporting a massive spike in reports of animals at Christmas events. Education and information is a vital part of our work and we will of course be continuing this throughout the year to come.

You can make sure we are ready to achieve even more next year, by making a donation to the campaign here: Donate now