Two veterinary associations have thrown down the festive gauntlet with a quiz to test reindeer knowledge.

A seasonal reindeer depiction.
A seasonal reindeer depiction, but they are viewed as “marvellous, complex animals” that should be considered the rest of the year too.

The Veterinary Deer Society (VDS) and BVA complied the brainteaser to encourage vets and others to think of reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) all year, and not just at Christmas.

Evolved for harsh conditions

Reindeer originate from regions of the world with Arctic conditions, so have evolved to cope with harsh conditions and have specific welfare needs, particularly in warmer climates such as the UK, the organisations said.

Pete Goddard, of the Veterinary Deer Society, said: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is part of Christmas for all of us and we know people love to interact with reindeer at live displays, which can be fun and educational for everyone, so long as the animals’ welfare needs come first.

“As vets, we’d really like the UK public, which is well-known for its love of animals, to start thinking about reindeer all year round.

After all, reindeer may not be pets, but they are still for life not just for Christmas.”

Marvellous animals

BVA president Gudrun Ravetz added: “Vets are the go-to people for animal advice in communities across the UK.

“This Christmas, we’re hoping to share the cheer with Santa’s four-legged helpers by offering fun facts that will benefit any reindeer people come in contact with; for example, feeding reindeer unfamiliar food at Christmas is a bad idea as their winter food is lichen, which is rich in energy, but low in protein.

“Too much protein in the winter can cause reindeer problems. We hope everyone will take our quiz and learn some amazing facts about these marvellous, complex animals.”

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Nick Jackson
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3 months 2 days ago

Perhaps a good opportunity for vets to highlight the danger to British deer of importing reindeer from Norway for Christmas events in light of the discovery of chronic wasting disease in the wild herd there?

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