Letter to the Editor: Reindeer Christmas Display is Cruel
Does a local Christmas display featuring live reindeer disregard the animals' comfort?
Two adult reindeer are displayed each year in the parking lot of Chalet Nursery as part of their holiday display. The reindeer live in a cramped pen alongside a busy parking lot, at the intersection of Lake Avenue and Skokie Boulevard, subject to a constant barrage of loud noise, car exhaust and people trying to touch them.
Chalet claims the reindeer display is in the name of "imparting educational values and information", that the reindeer "delight customers", and are well cared for.
Chalet is missing the point that this setting is cruel and distressing to the animals despite the intention or quality of care. Rather than teaching respect for these majestic creatures, Chalet is teaching that it is acceptable to treat them as holiday decor with disregard for their comfort and their instinctual needs, such as raising young, seeking mates and grazing.
Imparting values to our children such as compassion, empathy and respect for animals results in more caring and thoughtful behavior towards all beings.
I am confident that Chalet can host a successful festive season without the use of live reindeer.