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While it may be exciting to see Rudolph for real at a Christmas event, displays with live reindeer are cruel.
Reindeer are not well-suited to captivity. In the wild, they live in large groups known as herds, travel long distances and are well adapted to their cold arctic environment. Their unique needs are difficult to meet in captivity, meaning they rarely get the care they need and suffer from many health issues. Research by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, for example, found that poor diet, exposure to disease, and stress all contribute to the increasing number of captive reindeer deaths in the UK.
Reindeer are also susceptible to stress while living in captivity. They are not truly domesticated and find the lights, noise and crowds that come with Christmas events stressful. In fact, the Veterinary Deer Society states that most diseases observed in reindeer in the UK are stress-related.
If you know of an event near you that’s using reindeer, take action and help educate others about the suffering they endure in captivity.