The festive season is upon us and as the Christmas lights go up and the merry bells start ringing please spare a thought for the animals caught up in our celebrations.

Every year live reindeer are being used to attract people to our busy shopping and garden centres.

These shy and gentle creatures are sometimes transported long distances and may be held in small pens for many hours where they may be exposed to bright lights and noisy crowds and a constant stream of excited shoppers.

With no place to retreat to it is obvious their health and welfare will suffer.

Government figures requested by Animal Aid show that from 2014-2017 a total of 571 reindeer carcasses examined post-mortem were found to have perished from a range of problems including gastric and digestive issues, malnutrition, and wasting a nervous conditions. Worst of all hidden cameras have shown handlers kicking and abusing these sensitive creatures.

Wild animals belong in the wild, and should be allowed to enjoy their natural freedom.

Please say no to these outdated festivities and embrace cruelty-free events instead.

Helen Nelson