I’m just as psyched about the holidays as anyone else. Free stuff, snow days (oh, right, we don’t get those), e-cards— what’s not to love? Well, I’ll tell you. In certain cities across America, animals are being exposed to all sorts of danger for the sake of live Nativity scenes. Camels, sheep, and donkeys are casually put out in a pen in harsh weather and left unattended outside churches and in Christmas shows, where they are sometimes stolen, injured by passing dogs, or harassed by the public. They are often transported to and from the exhibits in cold, uncomfortable and scary conditions, and they can even spread salmonella and E. coli.
This is super scary, but there have even been cases of sexual abuse, injury in transport, and other cases of neglect and cruelty to animals used in Nativity scenes, which is why we have a better idea.
Instead of using live animals this Christmas, we suggest a lovely fiberglass display like the ones at Christmas Night Inc. These displays are cruelty-free, and they can be shoved into the back of a shed and reused year after year. Fake displays—with ultra-cute Baby Jesus statues—are much less expensive than “renting” real animals, so the money saved could go to a good cause (like vegetarian food for the hungry, perhaps?).
If you know of a live Nativity scene in or planned for your area, take action now, please! The following are a few things you can do to help:
- Contact the pastor of the church to voice your concerns and ask for a last minute change of plan. Talking with church administrators may encourage them to consider a more humane alternative in the future.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper asking people to consider the cruelty involved in Nativity scene displays and to stay away from them.
- Contact your local humane society or animal control agency if you spot signs of neglect, abuse, or vulnerability. You can find their number in the blue pages of your phone book.
So this holiday season, consider peace on Earth and good will toward humans and animals.
Written by Lianne Turner