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Project information

Protecting Animals at Christmas

Each year, reindeer, penguins and other animals are transported across the country to be displayed at Christmas events, under bright lights and in front of noisy crowds. Protecting Animals at Christmas seeks an end to animals being used for our entertainment.

February 2018 - September 2018

Charity information: Freedom for Animals

Freedom for Animals logo
  • Need


    Events that use animals for public display are sadly on the rise. Our work has highlighted serious welfare concerns for animals used in such events, including: stress during transportation; being displayed for hours at a time with nowhere to retreat; being made to ‘perform’; and visible signs of distress during handling. A supplier has even spoken out against the importation of reindeer to the UK, stating that they are not suited to captivity and suffer in our climate.


    We will work directly with local authorities, supporting and empowering them to ban companies who use animals in entertainment from running Christmas events on their land.

    Through reducing the locations in which such companies can operate, we hope to directly impact the number of events run and the number of animals who are currently exploited. Ultimately, we wish to see an end to such events and the suffering that they cause.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Raising awareness with all councils in England about issues surrounding Christmas animal events


    » Develop evidence-based resource packs, detailing key animal welfare concerns as well as alternatives to animal events
    » Provide information packs to all councils in England
    » Build relationships with 15 key supportive figures, including Councillors and MPs, to speak out positively about our work and encourage bans

    What success will look like

    We will record feedback from councils around our information packs, and the number of positive links made with key supportive figures

    Aim 2

    Working together with local people and groups to secure bans of Christmas animal events


    » Mail-out to our supporters and local residents, asking them to contact their council to support our proposal
    » Send out 5000 postcards for supporters to send to their council, encouraging a policy change or the introduction of a new policy to protect animals
    » Run social media campaigns to promote further contact with councils
    » If attending local events, speak to residents and ask them to contact their council to push for a ban

    What success will look like

    We will record the number of people who notify us they have contacted key council members, for example, those responding to our social media calls to action

    Aim 3

    Securing commitments from Councils to ban Christmas events using animals from their land!


    » Provide awareness raising resources to councils, as above
    » Work with responsive councils, targeting around 20 initially, attending meetings and providing information to enable them to implement key policies
    » Ask local people to contact non-responsive councils, and continue to work with them to seek positive change
    » Roll out project to more councils, ensuring the greatest impact for animals across the country

    What success will look like

    We will record the number of councils committing to ban Christmas events using animals on their land, and to no longer hire animals for events

  • Impact


    Our project will reduce the number of animals exploited and suffering in events at Christmas time, demonstrated via: a reduction in number of suppliers for such events; a reduction in people contacting us with welfare concerns regarding events that use animals; further councils committing to bans over time.

    Ultimately, this project will contribute to our wider work to end the use of animals in entertainment, freeing many thousands of animals from unnecessary suffering.


    1. Unresponsive Councils – we have set a project period of 8 months with several strategies to ensure that Councils engage with our work, including contacting a priority list, utilising supportive contacts, and working with local residents.

    2. Effectiveness of bans – we have chosen to base our project around supporting Councils to amend, develop or strengthen local policy, providing direct face-to-face support and full access to all the information they need to make a long-lasting change.


    Via our magazine, e-newsletter, and postal updates we will share with all of our donors the number of Councils committing to a ban, messages of support from Councils and key figures, and case studies of animals. We will of course also celebrate the success of our project via social media.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £4,575

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £2,353 Researcher/Campaigner 1 day a week from February to September 2018
      £1,199 Information packs for Councils Design, print and post evidence-based, comprehensive information packs for Councils
      £85 Mail-out to local residents Letters, envelope and postage to 200 residents, securing essential local support for our project
      £138 Postcards Design and print 5000 postcards for supporters to send to their MP/councillor
      £600 Travel To meet with councillors, MPs, and visit suppliers
      £200 Online campaign Facebook promotion and other online advertising
  • Background


    We will work with councils across England initially, ensuring our project has the greatest impact to protect animals. If the project is successful we will seek to extend it to Scotland, Wales and Ireland. In some regions, it may be suitable to support others to deliver the project.


    Our project will benefit the many hundreds of animals exploited during Christmas events. It would help reindeer like Honey and Freddie who were displayed in a noisy shopping centre in 2016, backing away as they were touched by the public and had their antlers grabbed by their handlers.

    This project responds to the increasing level of contact we receive from the concerned public, and also benefits councils, providing them with all the support they need to make positive changes for animals.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Originally established in 1957, today CAPS is a leading animal protection charity in the UK. We are one of only very few charities in the UK working to protect captive animals, and so our role is vital in securing changes for some of the most overlooked animals.

    We have previously worked very well with councils, with over 200 local authority areas committing to ban wild animal circuses on their land; our experience will ensure this project too is a success.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Nicola O'Brien

    Campaigns Director

    Maddy Taylor

    Campaigns Officer

    Alison Robinson


You can help reindeer like Honey and Freddie, exploited at a busy shopping centre at Christmas time


will pay for one visit to a Councillor, working together to ban Christmas events that use animals