ANIMAL Aid were saddened to see live reindeer used as props outside Westminster Abbey's carol service.

The event came just weeks after the RSPCA voiced concerns for the welfare of reindeer used in festive events

The Duchess of Cambridge hosted the event to celebrate people who have supported their communities throughout the pandemic.

While it is important to acknowledge these people and to thank them, displaying live animals at such events is not the right way to do it.

Reindeer are sensitive animals who are adapted to live in the cold climate of the Arctic tundra where, in the wild, they would roam great distances each day foraging for lichen and plants.

They do not cope well with the stress of captivity, or to being transported across the country to events.  

Footage on social media also shows the reindeer subjected to a stream of flashing lights and shouts from the press. One reindeer appeared to be trying to get away from her handler, who seems to struggle to keep her still. 

Stressful conditions, such as these, can have severe impacts on the health and welfare of these sensitive animals.  

We ask the Royal Family and event organisers to stop this suffering by avoiding the use of reindeer and other live animals in future. We also urge the public to find animal-friendly ways to have fun.   

Animal Aid campaigner Rachel King said: "Christmas should be a joyful time for all, but for reindeer used as 'props' in festive events it can mean increased stress and misery. Kate and William are prominent members of society and are in an excellent position to set a positive example by avoiding events that treat animals as commodities for human entertainment."

Animal Aid