A Gazette reader has raised concerns about the welfare of Santa’s reindeer at the Ross Christmas Fayre.
Helen Snowdon was saddened to find out that the Christmas fayre (November 27) is planning to have live reindeer on display.
She wrote to organisers via the fayre’s Facebook page asking them to reconsider.
Mrs Snowden’s letter read: “I was saddened to see that you plan to exhibit live reindeer as part of this year’s fayre. As a local resident I absolutely object to this.
“The bright lights and noise from large crowds at festive events can frighten and overwhelm animals. Forced to endure constant contact with the public, as well as long and stressful journeys, the animal’s health and welfare can suffer as a result.
“Reindeer are sensitive wild animals who are adapted to live in a cold climate, however in the UK they are unable to roam the vast distances that they would naturally. As herding animals, some species migrate up to 3,000 miles a year. This is a hugely different existence to captive reindeer, where they are often fed an unsuitable diet by inexperienced handlers.
“Dr Aidan Foster, expert veterinary authority on reindeer, has stated that, ‘Reindeer are highly specialised Arctic deer. The recent fashion of keeping them in a captive situation many degrees south of their normal range is fraught with health and welfare issues.’
“Undercover investigations into several UK reindeer farms revealed appalling suffering, including deliberate abuse and obvious signs of poor health. Many animal welfare groups raise concerns each year about the welfare of reindeer used in festive events and the RSPCA asks the public to choose events which do not include live animals.
“Considering the above, I appeal to you to cancel the appearance of live animals at your event and instead choose a kinder way to spread festive cheer. As an event organiser, you have the power to make a decision that will positively affect the experience of animals used for entertainment. Please choose kindness.”
Last week Ross Town Council confirmed that “Santa’s reindeer” will be making an appearance between 12–2pm. The reindeer are being supplied by Smart Trees.
This year’s Christmas Fayre takes place on Sunday, November 27, when the town centre, Broad Street, and Croft Court, will celebrate the festive season with over 70 stalls selling locally handmade arts and crafts as well as artisan food and drink. Live music at the Market House will feature: The Border Belles, The Penyard Singers, and solo singers Erica Jean and John Winder, plus the fantastic Ross Town Band.