Glasgow sleigh-ted over Xmas reindeer plans

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Animal rights activists call on Glasgow Life to drop plans to us live reindeer this Christmas 

4th November 2014 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Animal rights activists have slammed Glasgow Life over plans to use a herd of reindeer during the city’s Christmas on Ice event in George Square.

Peta, the international animal welfare group, has written to council leader Gordon Matheson, demanding Glasgow Life – which is charged with running Glasgow City Council’s cultural and leisure activities – drops plans to use the reindeer as part of its festive programme.

Campaigners for the group say using the reindeer is “cruel and dangerous” as they are not used to human contact.

They also pose health risks to the public as they are known carriers of rabies, salmonella, ringworm and even anthrax.

Kirsty Henderson, campaign coordinator for Peta, said: “A busy commercial centre, such as George Square, filled with thousands of noisy shoppers, bright lights, and excited children is an entirely unsuitable environment for reindeer or any other animals.

“There are many other ways that Glaswegians could celebrate this Christmas that would not compromise the well-being of animals or put the public at risk

“The holiday season is supposed to be about joy and peace.

“There are many other ways that Glaswegians could celebrate this Christmas that would not compromise the well-being of animals or put the public at risk.

“We hope to inform our members that Glasgow will cancel plans for the reindeer event.”

However Glasgow Life rejected the call, with a spokesperson saying: “The health and safety of reindeer, and the wider public remain our priority. As such, we have made a conscious effort in selecting and working with an organisation where the welfare of animals is at the heart of what they do.”

The reindeer will be kept at a British Reindeer Herders Association approved farm close to the city centre and, as such, transportation time will be kept to a minimum, added the spokesperson.  

“We have been working with a local, family run farm where the animals are raised around children and are seen as part of their extended family.

“The farm owners always prioritise their animals’ welfare over profit.”

Peta, whose motto reads “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”, is the largest animal rights organisation in the world with more than 3 million members and supporters.

Last Christmas, a captive reindeer escaped from Victoria Park in Newbury the day before a scheduled appearance at a festival.

And health chiefs were criticised for allowing a young reindeer fawn into Yorkhill Children’s Hospital in Glasgow in 2012.