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Animal rights group condemn reindeer use at Glasgow on Ice festival

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called on the council to halt the plans.

Glasgow On Ice

Animal rights campaigners have criticised the use of reindeer in Glasgow's festive season celebrations.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said a commercial centre such as George Square "filled with noisy shoppers, bright lights and excited children" is not a suitable environment for the animals.

The charity has written to council leader Gordon Matheson calling on him to halt plans to use live reindeer in the Glasgow on Ice festival which runs from November 27 to December 31.

Campaign co-ordinator Kirsty Henderson said: "Reindeer used in seasonal displays are forced into close contact with the public, which leaves them stressed and afraid.

"There are many other ways that Glaswegians could celebrate this Christmas that would not compromise the well-being of animals or put the public at risk."

Festival organisers Glasgow Life said the reindeer will be in a secure petting area, with only one family allowed access at a time.

A spokeswoman said: "A maximum of two people will be allowed to pet the reindeer at any time and always under the supervision of staff who have worked with the animals since 2007.

"The health and safety of reindeer and the wider public remain our priority. As such, we have made a conscious effort in selecting and working with an organisation where the welfare of animals is at the heart of what they do.

"We have been working with a local, family-run farm where the animals are raised around children and are seen as part of their extended family. The farm owners always prioritise their animals' welfare over profit."

The reindeer will be in George Square on December 14, 22 and 23 from noon to 4pm.

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