To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the use of a live reindeer in a busy Dublin shopping centre the regulations regarding such inappropriate exploitation of an animal in a crowded environment; if the ISPCA have been consulted; the action his department will take to ensure this is not repeated across the country in the run up to Christmas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. -Clare Daly TD
I understand that the reindeer was only present in the shopping centre for a very short period of time and there is no evidence that the welfare of the reindeer was compromised in any way. Nevertheless, while my Department appreciates the desire on the part of some people to enhance the experience of Christmas for children, I would urge anyone intending to use live animals for this purpose to first seek advice from my Department or the local authority veterinarian on the measures needed to ensure that the welfare of the animal is protected.
Section 11 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 provides that a person who has a protected animal, including a reindeer, in his or her possession or under his or her control, is obliged to ensure that the animal is kept and treated in a manner that safeguards the health and welfare of the animal. I would ask anyone who is concerned about the mistreatment of animals to contact my Department or An Gardai Siochana at email@example.com or on the welfare helpline at 076 1064408.