THERE will not be any reindeer at the Thurrock Garden Centre Santa’s Reindeer Grotto this Christmas.
On Saturday morning, leading animal rights group, Animal Aid, announced that the South Ockendon based centre had agreed to withdraw having reindeer at the centre.
The news came after Animal Aid said they collected undercover footage revealing abuse of reindeer at three farms in Kent, Staffordshire and Cheshire in 2017 and 2018.
Subsequently, a number of councils in Kent cancelled the appearance of reindeers at their Christmas events.
YT spoke to a member of staff at the South Road centre, who confirmed that they would not be having reindeer at their Grotto.
The reindeer traditionally appeared at the end of a petting zoo tunnel which leads to Santa’s Grotto.
Later on, they put a statement on their Facebook page.
They said: “This year, we have taken the decision to support Animal Aid by not having real reindeer in our Grotto due to the recent publicity surrounding the welfare of these animals.
“Thankfully, due to their caring upbringing, the farm animals will be returning to our magical Grotto Experience this year.
Thank you for your understanding.”
Animal Aid were keen to stress that there was no evidence that Thurrock Garden Centre had mistreated reindeer and once again thanked them for their co-operation.