PETA is out to get Santa’s reindeer. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are calling on city officials in Brisbane, Australia to skip using live reindeer in the annual city Christmas celebrations this year.
The annual Christmas parade, which runs from the December 16 till Christmas Eve, features locally bred red deer as part of the event.
PETA Australia campaign co-ordinator Claire Fryer said using the deer sent a damaging message to young people and the wider community.
“It shows young people that animals are little more than props,” said Ms Fryer. “The deer were not willing participants in the parade and were not exhibiting their natural behavior. The deer are no more suited to taking part in this event than they are pulling a sleigh through the sky. These large deer are usually roaming over large areas … they’re not used to being tied to carriages or being patted by people.”
“Poppycock,” replied Gordon Howell, a representative of City management. “Throwing reindeer into unemployment at this time of the year is unusually cruel. We comply with very strict union regulation, which is part of their labor contract, to see that the reindeer are well fed, well compensated, and never have to haul anyone other than one single man in the sleigh at a time. And, of course, come Christmas Eve, that’s strictly volunteer duty.”
Several parade goers expressed outrage at PETA’s comments. “It’s not like we’re carving them up into steaks,” said Rachel Kroll, of Brisbane.
” I completely disagree that using the reindeer sends any kind of poor message to the children,” parent Grant Bryner told us. “What they see are reindeer who are handled gently, talked to softly, and who are roundly applauded and cheered. The reindeer, if anything, are honored, not mistreated. I say the minute we get rid of the reindeer is the minute we put the harnesses on the representatives of PETA and stick little antlers on their heads and parade them around.”