LONDON, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Animal rights groups say the idea of German discount supermarket chain Lidl selling reindeer meat in Britain as a specialty Christmas cuisine is "revolting."
The grocery chain, with 500 stores in Britain, is making a 180-degree turnaround from selling cheap cuts of meat during the height of the recession by including the reindeer along with other so-called luxury cuisine such as pheasant and venison, Sky News reported Monday.
Animal rights groups have come down on Lidl for selling reindeer meat that is herded using snowmobiles and motorbikes, which activists say increase stress on the animals.
The supermarket defended the decision to sell reindeer.
"They live in their natural habitat and have plenty of space to move around freely until the herds are moved to an EU-approved abattoir, which is strictly monitored by the state authorities," a Lidl representative said.
"The idea of 'Rudolph' being slaughtered and sliced into steaks for a novelty Christmas dinner is revolting," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said. "Christmas is supposed to remind us of peace and goodwill -- and the rest of the animal kingdom could do with a taste of it, rather than being tasted."