British store says demand 'huge' for reindeer meat

Nov. 4, 2013 at 2:18 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- A British supermarket said there is a "huge" demand for reindeer meat during the holidays, despite some protests against "eating Rudolph."

Clare Norman, a public relations manager for supermarket chain Lidl, said diced Siberian reindeer meat was introduced to the 600 stores in Britain during the 2010 holiday season and most stores were sold out of the meat within a week, ABC News reported Monday.

"The demand from our customers has been huge," Norman said. "We aim to offer our customers a wide variety of traditional Christmas products, as well as those they may not have had the opportunity to try before."

The reindeer meat has been the subject of protests from animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

"No one likes the idea of eating Rudolph at Christmas," PETA spokesman Ben Williamson said.

Animal charity Viva! said raising reindeer as meat has other effects on the animal kingdom.

"Apart from the significant welfare issues around industrialized reindeer production, you can now add the systematic destruction of wild animals, such as wolves, to protect commercial reindeer herds," Viva! campaigns manager Justin Kerswell said.

Kerswell said protecting the reindeer herds leads to the shooting of endangered wolves and bears.

Norman said the store works hard to ensure its products are environmentally friendly.

"We only source products that meet our high standards of food safety, hygiene and animal welfare while never compromising on quality," Norman said.

Lidl said reindeer will be available starting Nov. 7.

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