OPINION: Camels, reindeer and why you shouldn't give your money to Christmas events which exploit animals

A reindeer. Stock image c/o Pixabay.A reindeer. Stock image c/o Pixabay.
A reindeer. Stock image c/o Pixabay.
How is your Christmas shopping going?

Are you having to cut back with the cost of living crisis and spiralling energy costs?

Are you looking at how you can celebrate the festivities and spend more time with loved ones?

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Our group campaigns on many animal and environmental related issues and one of our campaigns, around the use of animals in Christmas events, is now in full swing.

Although the use of animals in events (Christmas or otherwise) has reduced over the years, they are still sadly used in some areas of the UK.

There was a standing joke that we knew it was Christmas in South Tyneside when the arguments about the camel parade started.

However, the council has now made the right decision to drop live animals from their events, and last year’s event – which was the first animal-free parade they had for around seven years – was absolutely spectacular and rightly focused on all of the fantastic children and young people in our borough.

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Indeed, our parade is now held up as an example of how these events should be run across the UK.

So why we do believe it is wrong to have animals in events like?

Firstly, there is a reason that we don’t ever see camels or reindeer etc at close quarters – they simply don’t belong in the UK. We are frequently told that these animals are specifically bred for this purpose, but does that make it right?

Is it really morally acceptable that we teach children (who primarily these events are aimed at) that animals are commodities, there for our entertainment and our use?

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Is it really right that having bred animals we don’t need, we then subject these animals to training to perform or behave in a certain way (and which clearly takes away their freedom of choice to display natural behaviours)?

Then we transport them sometimes hundreds of miles in trucks, and expect them to parade for our entertainment or be displayed in completely artificial environments like shopping centres.

When you think about it, isn’t it all a little bit pointless and very cruel?

All of this, so we as humans can gawp at animals for maybe five minutes in a parade.

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All of this when we clearly can do so much better without them, as well as making more inclusive events. Anecdotal evidence shows that for as many people who go to visit these events, at least as many will stay away.

So if you see an event with animals in them, please do not give them your money or your time. Christmas is supposed to be about peace on earth, not exploiting animals.

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