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Every year during the Christmas season, deer and other wild animals are hired out, transported to some of Australia's busiest shopping areas, and put on display for hours on end, surrounded by music, flashing lights, and noisy crowds.
Christmas attractions that use live animals completely go against the merry spirit of the season. Animals are living, feeling individuals, not props, and they shouldn't be made to suffer for our entertainment.
Often the "reindeer" who are forced to perform in parades or nativity scenes in Australia are actually 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 and activity and to people trying to touch them.
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 "festive" costumes – is shameful.
After talks with PETA and protests by Animal Liberation Queensland and other grassroots activists, David Jones ended the use of live animals in Brisbane's annual Christmas parade in 2018. While the retailer showed kindness to animals by leaving them out of the parade, the Brisbane City Council has continued to use "reindeer" to lure crowds, confining the deer to a small patch of plastic grass as part of the "Santa's Stable" display at Reddacliff Place.
There's simply no place – during the holiday season or at any other time of the year – for events that compromise animals' well-being.
Help us keep reindeer and other animals out of Christmas displays. If you live in Brisbane, send a message to your councillor and let them know that hiring live animals as decorations isn't a good use of ratepayers' money. Your message will have a greater impact if you personalise it, so please take the time to customise the form letter below if you can before submitting it.
If you don't know which Brisbane City Council ward you live in, find out here.
Don't live in Brisbane? Click here to help.