Assurances given over reindeer welfare

Local Christmas event organisers have defended the appearance of reindeer in their festive parade in the face of criticism from an animal rights organisation.

Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 10:34 am
The reindeers featured in the parade are well-looked after and happy in their work.

This Saturday December 11, the Cairngorm Reindeer Parade takes place in Inverurie as part of the town's Christmas events.

We Are Inverurie, who have organised the parade along with the other festive events, have been bombarded with comments and messages from campaigns charity, OneKind on it’s social media channels which led to them being blocked.

The charity is concerned for the welfare of the reindeer used in live reindeer displays, including Inverurie’s reindeer parade, and claim We are Inverurie has refused to acknowledge the charity and concerned members of the public.

OneKind Campaigner, Eve Massie, said: “Reindeer are native to the Arctic Tundra, where they often roam for thousands of miles. And yet, We are Inverurie will force reindeer to pull a sleigh down a busy, bright and noisy high street. It is a far cry from their natural habitat.

“The welfare issues of live reindeer displays can, at some events, include the stress caused by transportation and by exposure to loud noise, bright lights, music and unnatural environments. As prey animals, reindeer can be very good at hiding stress and so any symptoms may not actually be visible at the time of the event.

“We are also very concerned about the environments that these animals are kept in for the remainder of the year.

Eve added: “We would like to see We are Inverurie join a number of venues that have put an end to live reindeer displays. Reindeer are not Christmas props to be used for our entertainment.”

But reassurances have been given that the reindeers visiting Inverurie this weekend are well looked after and happy at these type of events.

Derek Ritchie, BID Manager at We Are INverurie, said: “The reason we book these Reindeer to take part in our Christmas event is because these reindeer have come from the best life, up in the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland.

"They have gone through special training in order to prepare them to take part in live events from a young age and by taking part as a team of 4-6 reindeer means they are comfortable in their herd environment. They are at ease with the work they do and we wouldn’t be doing these events if we thought otherwise.

"As far as the social media comments are concerned, the same comment and link was being posted time and again, so we took the decision to remove them. Interestingly, it does appear that none of these messages came from anyone in the North-East of Scotland."

A spokesman for Cairngorm Reindeer said: “At home in the Cairngorms, thousands of people come to meet our herd in their natural habitat each year, where the reindeer freely choose to mingle and interact. As a result of domestication, reindeer are docile and placid animals, they travel well and are at ease with the events they do.”

You can find out more about the reindeers at www.cairngormreindeer.co.uk/ and head to www.weareinverurie.co.uk/inverurie-bid for details about the parade