Lapland UK - Stop Exploiting Reindeer & Huskies for Human Entertainment!

Lapland UK - Stop Exploiting Reindeer & Huskies for Human Entertainment!

15 September 2022
Petition to
Lapland UK (Head of Customer Experience)
Signatures: 39,160Next Goal: 50,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Caroline Larner

Lapland UK has recently announced their plans to return to Whitmoor Forest in Berkshire this year with their Christmas theme park which runs from Saturday 12th November to Saturday 24th December 2022. During this event, they proudly claim that they will have live reindeer and live huskies for entertainment purposes.

Christmas should be a time to meet up with loved ones and create memories but it should not include traumatising animals which is exactly what using live reindeer and live huskies at this event will do. 

What many people may not realise, is that events such as these will attract a crowd of often noisy, excitable people, which can cause great distress to these sensitive animals. Often there is quite literally nowhere for them to retreat to as they are surrounded by people demanding near-constant interaction. This in turn severely impacts their health and welfare.

The Reindeers are often subjected to an extensive travel regime, being transported up and down the country to be used as entertainment in pens, or paraded. Behind the scenes, they are unable to roam the vast distances that they would choose to if in the Arctic tundra, their natural habitat. Reindeer are highly specialised Arctic deer and the recent fashion of keeping them in a captive situation many degrees south of their normal range is fraught with health and welfare issues.

Over the course of 2018 national campaigning group Animal Aid extensively researched and investigated what happens when reindeer are ‘off duty’ on farms. The below is a brief synopsis of its findings:

- Reindeer suffering from extensive fur loss with raw-looking exposed skin
- Animals with heavy diarrhoea
- Some reindeer crowded into night pens or sheds
- Animals stuck out on a concrete yard with no opportunity to graze
- Poor bodily condition, some with obvious skeletal issues
- Deliberate abuse including workers kicking and shouting at reindeer

Government figures requested by Animal Aid show that from 2014 to 2017, a total of 571 reindeer were imported into the UK, from places such as Sweden, Finland and Norway. For the same period, 54 reindeer carcasses were submitted to the Animal Plant Health Agency for post-mortem diagnostic investigation. Their findings reveal that animals seem to have died from a range of generalized issues including parasitic, gastric and digestive issues, malnutrition, wasting and nervous conditions.

Lapland UK have stated that the the Huskies for the majority of their time on-site, the huskies are "backstage" away from our visitors/guests. This area is outdoors in the forest, and the huskies are not kept inside but instead brought out on leads for guests to see them with their handlers at all times. It is advised that guests do not touch them to ensure that the dogs are comfortable, and not distressed.

However, Huskies require a minimum of 2 hours off-lead exercise a day, lots of playtime and training sessions - so even putting them "backstage" is not satisfactory and constantly ferrying the Huskies back and forth to guests is still cruel, unnatural and distressing for these animals as they are living, breathing, sentient beings not entertainment props. It is also unknown exactly how many scheduled times a day the huskies are brought out of the "backstage" area to be stared at by strangers for "entertainment". The vagueness and scripted tropes from Lapland UK do little to assuage concerns about these animal's welfare. 

Furthermore simply "advising" guests not to touch the huskies does not mean that guests, especially excitable children, will not touch them so this environment will be distressing to them. Although Huskies enjoy being with people, they can sometimes get a bit overexcited and boisterous which can be a surprise to people not used to the breed so they are totally unsuited to long periods of time with people who likely will not have had any experience with this particular breed - this could easily lead to an incident which will only have adverse consequences for the huskies.

The event organisers have been contacted by animal welfare groups alerting them to the cruelty of using live animals but they have sadly dismissed all concerns stating that they are "happy" with the levels of welfare provided. It is therefore up to the public to show that using live animals for human entertainment cannot and will not be tolerated in the 21st century. 

I therefore urge you to sign this petition and ask the event organisers of Lapland UK to rethink their plans and use cruelty free alternatives to live animals in this and all future events. 

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Signatures: 39,160Next Goal: 50,000
Support now


  • Lapland UKHead of Customer Experience