What’s the issue?

Hawley Garden Centre in Kent is running a Santa’s Grotto at their site with two live reindeer, which they do every year. Visitors with small, excitable young children will be approaching the reindeer with no knowledge about these sensitive prey animals. This is not a suitable environment for them. The event is being held until Christmas Eve. With your help in this action, we believe that we can stop Hawley Garden Centre from using live reindeer next year. Will you help us?

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What's the problem with live reindeer displays at a garden centre?

Reindeer are highly sensitive, unique, semi-wild animals who are adapted to the extreme climates of northern latitudes and, therefore, when imported to countries such as the UK, are expected to live in substantially different conditions to those in which they evolved. In their natural environment, reindeer live in herds and would travel up to 40 miles per day.

Sadly, they are brought into the UK to be used as nothing more than mere props at Christmas time. Lined up in small pens in garden centres, pubs and shopping malls, all of which are highly unsuitable places for these wonderful animals.

The RSPCA has also strongly condemned the use of reindeer in Christmas events. Dr Ros Clubb, senior scientific manager at the RSPCA, said:

We understand that it must seem magical for people to see a reindeer at Christmas, but the reality is reindeer are not easy to keep well and need specialised care, they get stressed very easily and are very susceptible to many health and welfare problems.

Reindeer that are used in Christmas displays and events – regardless of how friendly or ‘domesticated’ they are – continue to be stressed and unsettled by travel and by being required to be amongst, often excitable, children and adults. 

Reindeer are not Christmas commodities!

Research by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency shows that these specialised arctic deer suffer greatly when uprooted from their natural habitat, and placed in captivity. The research shows that a poor diet, exposure to diseases, and stress are prevalent and lead to a high mortality rate in captive reindeer.

These animals should be living free in their natural environment, not exploited for a cheap Christmas thrill.

How can you help reindeer this Christmas?

We’re targeting Hawley Garden Centre in Kent that continues to have reindeer at their site every year. Let’s put a stop to this for good. Send the venue an email using the form below. Please join us to release Rudolph!