​Response to those who feel it is animal cruelty to have live reindeer at The Ilkeston Food Fair Christmas market on 11th December ​2016​

Ilkeston Food Fair understands and acknowledges people’s ​​concerns about the importation of wild reindeer to the UK for shows around the festive season. We wholeheartedly agree that the importation of reindeer is an extremely serious concern and should be subject to ​strict​ regulation, which Ilkeston Food Fair would welcome and support.

We researched the various ​reindeer hire​ companies very carefully​ ​and chose Real Reindeer, the herd leaders in Reindeer exhibiting in the UK, ​not only because they are ​an established reputable company with a majority UK born herd ​but also because of their long standing relationship with the Sami people, from where their reindeer originate from. They have worked with the Veterinary Laboratories Agency to help compile the research which was aimed at educating prospective owners of reindeer in the UK.

This company advised on the ‘report’ with the government department as the reindeer were being sold to people who had no expertise in caring for them and is of immense frustration to our reindeer suppliers who are constantly striving to improve the husbandry of reindeer in this country. The company we are using are ‘approved’ by the Sami people. Reindeer are the only breed of deer that have been successfully domesticated by the Sami people over thousands of years. The reindeer are intelligent animals and respond well to human interaction. They are so tame they do not exhibit any indicators of stress.

The relationship they have with the Sami’s now mean knowledge is shared back to the Sami’s regarding health issues and there is continuing work between them and because of this ongoing relationship Ilkeston Food fair are very happy with the welfare standards of the company who are providing the reindeer.

A colleague at Ilkeston Food Fair has seen reindeer​ from this company​ recently at an event and reported that they are very happy, healthy and relaxed which will become evident when they are on display​ at the Christmas Market​on​ the​11th December 2016.

All human reindeer interaction is determined by the reindeer who​ will​have the freedom and sufficient space to move away from the public if they wish. Whilst on display the reindeer eat, drink and lie down (and sometimes sleep) and exhibit all the natural behaviour they would do if they were at home. They are transported in purpose built trailers with thick straw beds as the reindeer travel loose and lie down as soon as they start moving.

These reindeer are the ambassadors of their breed and whilst bringing enjoyment to many whilst on display, are helping educate on the need for strict regulation of live reindeer importation and their continued welfare in this country.

Please be in no doubt that Ilkeston Food Fair has the best intentions in having Reindeer at the Christmas Market and we are thrilled to be able to give both adults and children the fantastic opportunity of meeting the reindeer and learning all about them.

Kind regards,

Carol and Gordon Pringle.