An animal rights activist threatening to burn down a U.K. pub with its owners in it if a Christmas event with Santa and his reindeer wasn’t cancelled.
Steve and Rebecca Eccles, who run The Saddle Inn in Fulford, England, planned to do what they did last Christmas: bring in Santa, some elves, and the big guy’s reindeer as a treat for local children.
Freedom for Animals, however, had a different plan and suggested that supporters to contact the pub and ask that they opt for an “animal-free” event instead.
“Visiting children will still be able to meet Santa and his elves, receive a present and enjoy all the magic of Christmas without having to bear witness to stressed, imprisoned reindeer in a miserable little pen,” the group said, according to the Daily Mail .
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The couple was inundated with emails from all over the world, asking them to leave out the reindeer. One person, however, went a step too far and threatened to kill the couple if the event went on as planned.
“I understand and respect your views, however, receiving threatening emails – to burn the pub down with us in it if we continue with the planned visit from Santa and his reindeer – is TOO MUCH,” read a Facebook post from the pub.
Eccles contacted police, who suggested it best to cancel the whole thing.
“Obviously we have to take this seriously for the safety of our staff and our visitors and on the advice of the police we are going to have to cancel this event,” continued their Facebook post.
The couple have received loads of support from local residents, some calling the threats “shocking behaviour,” while another wrote, “Terrorism wins. That’s the world we live today.”
Freedom for Animals said it urges businesses to plan “compassionate” events instead, without the “exploitation of living, feeling animals such as reindeer.”
The group added that as for alleged threats against The Saddle Inn owners, it does not “condone any threats of violence and would not encourage anyone to make any.”