It’s less than a month until Christmas and while the festive season is looking a little different this year, there are still plenty of opportunities popping up to visit live reindeer displays. Before you get caught up in the magic though, think twice. Reindeer live in the Arctic Tundra, not in Christmas markets.
Reindeer are wild sentient animals
Reindeer are wild animals that live in herds and travel vast distances every day. In captivity, they are unable to perform natural behaviours such as foraging, socialising and travelling. They are often fed the wrong food and forced to walk on hard ground that’s unsuitable for their hooves that keep them steady on snow and ice.
Reindeer are prey animals that get stressed easily
Christmas markets and reindeer displays are noisy and full of bright lights and people. They are unnatural and stressful for reindeer that are restrained, petted by excitable families and used as photo props. Some are even forced to pull Santa’s sleigh down busy streets. Effects include weight gain or loss, diarrhoea, and antler malformation as well as low fertility and high calf mortality. The constant stress also increases the chance of illness and disease.
Reindeer travel in herds on snow, not in trailers
When not on show, reindeers are transported from place to place and kept in conditions that rarely meet their needs. Many are neglected, underfed and denied essential veterinary care. They suffer all year round for the sake of a few months of entertainment at Christmas.