COUNCIL-RUN events in Knowsley will no longer use live animals for entertainment after a Prescot councillor’s 10-month campaign.

At a meeting last Wednesday evening (September 16), Knowsley Council unanimously approved a motion from Green Cllr Jo Burke prohibiting the use of live animals at council events, except for educational purposes or if it was consistent with their natural habitat.

Cllr Burke, who represents Prescot South, has been concerned about the use of live animals at council events since the end of last year, following a row about the use of reindeer at a Christmas event in Prescot.

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Cllr Burke

At Wednesday’s meeting, she said the use of reindeer at Christmas events caused them “huge stress” through noise and the experience of being transported around the country.

She said: “We as a council have to listen and protect these majestic animals.

“It’s one thing to find them in a story book and quite another to find these sensitive animals used as props for our entertainment.”

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Even when animals were supplied by companies with all the relevant permits, as the ones previously used by the council had been, Cllr Burke, also a Prescot Town councillor, said they still experienced stress.

Although the use of live reindeer had provoked an argument last Christmas, Cllr Burke’s motion received cross-party support and was seconded by Labour’s Cllr Shelley Powell.

Cllr Powell said: “The welfare of animals has to be a priority for this council.”

Both councillors acknowledged that while there was little the council could do to prevent the use of live animals at non-council events, they could at least control what happened at their own events.

Green group leader Cllr Kai Taylor added: “We can and we should lead the way in ensuring we are not supporting the exploitation of animals.”