Animal-lovers were worried the reindeer was underfed and should not have appeared at the Christmas event in Kent
A picture of a reindeer with his ribs visible through his skin has ignited outrage among animal lovers.
The reindeer, which belongs to The Reindeer Centre at Capralama Farm in Kent, performed as Rudolf at a festive fair outside The Swallows leisure centre on Sunday.
Pictures of the “skeletal” animal posted online provoked a huge backlash against the company that owns it.
One lady on social media wrote: “This reindeer is clearly very malnourished.
“Age may be a factor but this poor animal is clearly not in a fit state to be used in such a way.
She added: “Shame folks feel the need to use animals to gape at but the Council should have interceded in this case.”
The undernourished reindeer at Reindeer Centre at Capralama Farm in Bethersden, near Ashford, Kent
Another posted: “That reindeer is NOT in good physical shape! You don’t need to be a vet to see that.”
Swallow’s leisure centre replied to the criticisms claiming the reindeer’s health was “paramount”.
In a statement posted on Facebook they said: “Following worries that some customers had regarding the weight of one of the reindeer at the recent Swallows Leisure Centre Christmas Fayre, we would like to stress that the care of the animals was paramount in our contemplation for including them within our festive event.
“We booked through a company called the Reindeer Centre and before continuing all appropriate documentation was sought, including a certificate of registration for performing animals and full animal welfare statements.”
The pic was posted on Facebook
In an unconnected post, The Swallows leisure centre defined a reply from the reindeer’s owners, who assured concerned folks that the animals were fed straw and water throughout the event.
The Reindeer Centre added: “That would specify that the reindeer is in good condition”.
Some animal-lovers were not persuaded, with one writing on Facebook: “Having seen that picture of an agonizingly thin reindeer I think you and the Reindeer Centre should be ashamed of yourselves.
“The poor thing was emaciated, no matter what the centre claims.”
But others were more sympathetic of the company following their assurances that the reindeer was healthy enough to appear at the festive fair.
One grandma, who attended the Christmas event with her two-year-old granddaughter, said: “What a great experience she had.
“She undeniably adored stroking the reindeer, fed them carrot and we had a lovely chat with the man in the pen.
“He was very adoring about his livestock.
“I think we need to remember that some of us are, should we say large & some of us are small.”
Over 1,500 persons attended the event, which was also held to help promote local business.
The event also raised £200 for Help for Heroes
Source and Images via: mirror.co.uk