Hastings’ Priory Meadow confirms ‘no animals’ in displays policy

Priory Meadow shopping centre, Hastings
Priory Meadow shopping centre, Hastings

The Priory Meadow shopping centre has confirmed its policy to not use animals in displays ‘firmly remains’ following publicity surrounding ill-treatment of a reindeer at a farm in Kent.

The Hastings town centre location, along with NewRiver, made a ‘firm decision more than three years ago not to use, hire or include any animals in its centre activities’, according to the centre manager.

After the controversy surrounding the treatment of reindeer, Stacey Bell said: “I can confirm Priory Meadow will not be using any animals in any of its events or promotions.

“I can assure you this policy firmly remains.”

The Priory Meadow shopping centre joins the Blue Reef Aquarium which earlier this week cancelled its reindeer event planned for December.

On Facebook, the Blue Reef Aquarium said: “Our Christmas event will not include reindeer as previously stated but the event will be going ahead on Saturday, December 22, and will include Diving Santa, face painting, festive food and drink.”

The leader of Hastings Borough Council has welcomed the decisions made by Priory Meadow and the Blue Reef Aquarium.

Councillor Peter Chowney said: “I am very pleased that Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings have cancelled their reindeer event. I was also reassured to learn that our Priory Meadow shopping centre has no plans to use reindeer at their Christmas events this year and, indeed, that they have taken the decision not to use wild animals for events in the centre in future.

“The council has an Animal Welfare Charter that bans events involving performing animals on council land, but does not have the power to stop animal events on private land. However, we do not condone the use of performing animals anywhere, or the use of wild animals in displays.

“We are developing an animal welfare licensing policy that will ensure that the welfare of animals is paramount.”

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Hastings attraction drops live reindeer from Christmas event following animal welfare group investigation into reindeer farms