Captive Reindeer Seen Kicked and Abused at UK Farm
An undercover investigation by an animal rights group shows captive reindeer being poorly treated at farms in the UK.
Animal Aid released the disturbing footage on Monday ahead of the holiday season and are calling on event organizers to halt the use of live reindeer as entertainment at public events.
The videos were shot at three different reindeer centers from Nov. 2017 and throughout 2018. Animal Aid investigators witnessed the animals suffering from "raw, exposed skin, diarrhea and skeletal abnormalities," according to a press release.
Worse yet, secret cameras filmed a worker at the Kent Reindeer Centre kicking a reindeer on two separate occasions and shouting profanities at them.
Animal Aid: Reindeer Investigation www.youtube.com
"Our investigations have revealed the shocking suffering of these gentle animals," Animal Aid campaign manager Tor Bailey said in the press release. "Reindeer are sensitive wild animals, not props to be paraded around and used for human entertainment. I would urge the general public not to support events which feature live captive animals and find other more animal-friendly ways to enjoy the festive period."
A spokeswoman for the Kent Reindeer Centre told the BBC that its animals were "much loved and well cared for" and said that the employee that abused the reindeer was "dismissed as unsuitable after a short period of time."
Animal Aid also raised concerns about farms located in Staffordshire and Cheshire.
At the Staffordshire farm, an animal was found with what the activists described as "severe fur loss and skeletal abnormalities." But the farm owner told the BBC that deer had developed arthritis and caused him to appear "bow-legged" and added that the animals he kept were all "happy and healthy."
At the Cheshire Reindeer Lodge, which is now permanently closed, some of the animals had "visible ribs" and the herd only had a barren yard to use as their outdoor space, Animal Aid said.
From 2014 to 2017, more than 570 reindeer were imported from Sweden, Finland and Norway, according to government figures. Once in the UK, they have to endure a different climate than they are used to, making them susceptible to a variety of diseases and pathogens, Animal Aid noted.
"Reindeer are highly specialized Arctic deer. The recent fashion of keeping them in captive situations many degrees south of their normal range is fraught with health and welfare issues," veterinarian Aidan Foster said in the press release.