Christmas is anything but merry for animals who are exploited for Nativity scenes, lighting ceremonies, and other holiday displays. They are carted from one event to the next and live in a perpetual state of confinement, discomfort, and stress.
Often the “reindeer” who are forced to perform in parades or nativity scenes in Australia are red deer – gentle animals with a natural instinct to run away from humans. At such events, they’re subjected to a constant barrage of strange noises, activity, and people trying to touch them.
Deer used in parades are often kept chained or on tight leashes so that they can’t escape and cause mayhem in the middle of a city by running across roads or fleeing while hooked up to a carriage filled with children. Should a deer become startled and break free, the consequences could be dangerous for everyone.
Forced to Perform in the Sweltering Heat
December in Australia means hot temperatures, sometimes reaching up to 40 degrees Celsius or more. Forcing animals to parade around in such weather – let alone dressing them up in ridiculous costumes – is shameful.
Choose Kindness This Christmas
The holidays are a time for joy and kindness, but dragging prey animals through busy city streets and shopping centres day after day is cruel. From singing Christmas carols, dancing, and viewing the colourful lights, there are plenty of ways to make our holiday celebrations merry and bright without harming Rudolph.
Animals are not Christmas decorations, and they should never suffer for human entertainment.
What You Can Do
We’ve been contacting councils and event organisers up and down the country to ask them to replace live-animal displays with cruelty-free alternatives. If you come across such plans in your local area, please write to the organisers and ask them to rethink it. Below is a template letter that you can use for inspiration. Please add in the relevant details before you send it.
If you see animals being used as props for holiday entertainment, please let us know.
I’m writing to urge you to cancel plans to feature live animals at [Name of Venue/Event] on [scheduled date].
A busy, brightly lit attraction such as this – filled with members of the public, including excited children – is an unsuitable environment for deer – sensitive animals with a natural instinct to run away from humans. At such events, they’re subjected to a constant barrage of strange noises, activity, and people trying to touch them.
Deer used in parades are often kept chained or on tight leashes so that they can’t escape and cause mayhem in the middle of a city or shopping centre. They also pose a significant health risk to the public because they can transmit numerous diseases to humans, such as salmonellosis, sarcoptic mange, and ringworm.
The practice of taking these animals on the road, confining them to pens, and treating them as mere Christmas decorations is unacceptable, and we shouldn’t encourage this unethical trend. We don’t want our children to grow up thinking that animals exist merely for our entertainment. Ending the use of deer would do nothing to diminish children’s sense of magic during the festive period. For the animals, though, it would make a world of difference.
The Christmas season is supposed to be about joy and peace. There are many ways for visitors to celebrate without compromising the health and happiness of living beings.
[Your name and address]