8th December 2023

Freedom for Animals has launched a public action to try to stop Visit Hitchin from using live reindeer in their ‘BIG Weekend’ event.

On the 16th and 17th of December Hitchin’s Market Place will play host to a small enclosure housing vulnerable reindeer, subjected to crowds, noise, and an unnatural environment. We need your help to stop this!

Reindeer are herd animals who are native the arctic tundra, and should never be kept in small groups enclosed within a busy market environment.

We recently reported on the publication of new research that strongly demonstrates that reindeer suffer in event environments. This report, commissioned by OneKind, concluded that to prevent reindeer suffering the use of them in events should be ceased.

Thankfully we now live in an era where the majority of event organisers heed the advice of animal rights and animal welfare authorities worldwide, and choose compassionate, animal-free celebrations. Unfortunately, there are still some who continue to confine reindeer to cramped vans, haul them for miles, and force them to spend hours in tiny enclosures where they are forced to interact with members of the public. Visit Hitchin is one of these event organisers.

Reindeer belong in the arctic tundra, not busy city centres, and certainly not at events like these. We first reached out to the organisers in October but received no response. Since then we have followed up via email and telephone, only to get a 2-line response this week dismissing our concerns and failing to address any of the evidence we have provided that proves that reindeer are at risk in all events environments. We now need you to help get their attention. Go to our action page to send an email to the organisers asking them to plan compassionate, animal-free events this year and beyond.