SIR – As the Christmas season approaches, reindeer, donkeys and even camels are being transported up and down the country to be used as entertainment in parades, nativity plays, Santa’s grottos and other festive events.

Such events attract crowds of people, but put the animals under severe stress and cause health problems.

According to research at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, the increase in deaths in young reindeer, including seven reindeer who died from liver and gut flukes in Shropshire and another who died from a lung disease on a farm near Winchester, were likely to be linked to bad diet, poor welfare and the stress of being uprooted from their natural habitat.

Invariably, many animals used in parades suffer long periods of confinement, gruelling journeys to the events in which they will be used and stress from being paraded or even ridden in public.

Animal Aid urges all readers to be kind this Christmas, and choose entertainment that does not involve the use of animals. For a free guide to having a Compassionate Christmas, contact Animal Aid on 01732 364546 or e-mail

Fiona Pereira, Animal Aid, Bradford Street, Tonbridge