ANIMAL welfare charities are urging people to boycott Christmas celebrations that feature live reindeer.

OneKind, Animal Aid, Born Free and Freedom for Animals say they are concerned for the welfare of the reindeer, semi-wild animals that belong roaming the Arctic Tundra.

The charities and their supporters, have reached out to 58 organisers of live reindeer displays in Scotland highlighting the welfare issues associated with these displays but say the majority of the venues have ignored them

Reindeer are native to the Arctic Tundra, where they often roam for thousands of miles. According to the charities, some populations travel up to 3000 miles a year, the longest documented movement of any terrestrial mammal. They are adapted to the quiet of the wilderness, the open space and cool temperatures.

Eve Massie Bishop, a campaigner for Scottish charity OneKind, said: “It is much more valuable to educate the public about the fascinating, varied and complex lives of animals in the wild than to promote a voyeuristic experience in which public see confined animals who may be suffering.

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“Reindeer are semi-wild animals that do not belong in captivity. We would urge people not to visit any events with live animals used for entertainment and celebrate the festivities at one of the many animal-friendly events instead.

“Reindeer are sentient beings with complex needs, not Christmas props to be used for our entertainment.

“Christmas is a time of kindness, generosity and joy. Let’s extend this sentiment to non-human animals too.”

Chris Lewis, captivity research officer at the Born Free Foundation, added: “After decades of sustained pressure, the use of wild animals in travelling circuses was banned in England, Scotland and Wales and left in the past where it belongs.

“Yet year after year the same commercial exploitation of wild animals occurs across the nation; including during the weeks before Christmas to the detriment of hundreds of reindeer.”