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Bury St Edmunds: Christmas Fayre organisers come under fire for use of live animals

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 August 2013

Last year's Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre. Reindeer in the Abbey Gardens.

Last year's Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre. Reindeer in the Abbey Gardens.

(c) copyright citizenside.com

An animal welfare organisation is urging a council to stop using live animals at one of the country’s biggest festive events.

Last year's Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre. Reindeer in the Abbey Gardens. Last year's Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre. Reindeer in the Abbey Gardens.

Animal Defenders International wants St Edmundsbury Borough Council to put an end to the use of animals at the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre, which attracts tens of thousands of people.

Live animals have featured at the event before, and this year the reindeer will be back as well as a living nativity outside St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

Animal Defenders International campaigns against the use of animals for entertainment purposes.

Jan Creamer, chief executive at Animal Defenders International, said: “Animal Defenders International is dismayed at St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s plans to use reindeer as well as alpacas, donkeys and sheep at its living nativity.

“Frequent transportation, disruption of daily routines and separation from companions are standard practice for animals used for events of this kind and the stress can lead to animal health issues such as reduced immune efficiency.

“We urge the council to reconsider its position and adopt a policy of not using live animals for this and future events.”

But a spokeswoman for the borough council said live animals would still be at this year’s fair. “We are satisfied with the welfare standards of the animals at the Christmas Fayre,” she said.

Angie Greenaway, of Animal Defenders International, said the organisation contacted the borough council in April about its concerns. She said as they had had no response they had asked their supporters to contact the council as well.

The borough council spokeswoman said: “We will be replying to the organisation.”

The town centre business improvement group Bid4Bury has also used live animals at events it has organised in the town, for example the Christmas lights switch-on.

Bid4Bury chief executive Mark Cordell said: “The safety and welfare of animals for any event or entertainment purposes is of paramount importance to us and we only work with reputable companies whose priorities are the same as ours.”

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