RSPCA praise for Flintshire Council as it puts animal welfare at the top of its Christmas list
RSPCA Cymru has praised Flintshire County Council for putting animals first when it comes to Christmas events.
Councillors have voted to implement a ban so that reindeers and donkeys will no longer be used at council organised events such as Christmas light switch-ons, and also includes the use of birds, dogs, reptiles and invertebrates such as spiders, scorpions, crustaceans, or molluscs.
The thought of meeting a real-life reindeer at a Christmas event is exciting for people of all ages, but the RSPCA is concerned that these complex creatures could be suffering.
RSPCA senior scientific manager in wildlife Dr Ros Clubb said: “This is great news and we are delighted to hear that Flintshire County Council has taken this important step for animal welfare in their community.
“As Christmas approaches, we and other animal welfare charities are really concerned that reindeer used in festive events across the country could be suffering in silence. Reindeer are kept here in the UK year-round but we always see more calls about them in the build-up to Christmas, which is when they are taken out to be on display at festive events.
“We understand that it must seem magical for people to see a reindeer at Christmas, but the reality is reindeer are not easy to keep well and need specialised care – they get stressed very easily and are very susceptible to many health and welfare problems.
“In the wild, they are prey animals so they naturally hide their illnesses, and we are concerned many owners may not realise their reindeer, which are attending stressful, busy festive events, are poorly or may not be able to spot the problems until it is too late.”
The motion was introduced at a full meeting of Flintshire Council by Buckley Bistre West Councillor Dan Rose and seconded by fellow ward member Councillor Carolyn Preece.
Councillor Rose said: “I’m very pleased to see the motion passed with support from across the political spectrum.
“We have long since moved on from cockfighting, bullrings and dancing bears in chains. But in our community today there are still animals suffering for entertainment – needlessly.
“We can now put an end to that – and help keep Rudolf safe this Christmas.”
Mold East Councillor Chris Bithell also asked council officers to broaden its remit to include animals being given away as prizes at events in Flintshire, such as goldfish.
The means that Flinshire would be the tenth council across Wales to take the stand against the outdated practice – following the #NoFunAtTheFair Pets as Prizes campaign, which was re-launched by the RSPCA back in June.
They follow Caerphilly, Cardiff, Conwy, Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Pembrokeshire, The Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham, who have already taken action.
It also comes as more than 7,600 supporters have now taken a campaign action, writing to their local Councillors appealing to them to support a ban on pets being allowed to be given out as prizes locally.
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