A UK grocer is underfire for selling wild reindeer meat in its markets this holiday season. The Lidl stores have been accused of “destroying the magic of Christmas by selling dead reindeer” by the Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (VIVA!). The animal-rights group says that the reindeer are treated cruelly. They say that wild reindeer are herded with snow mobiles and helicopters, which causes the animals undue stress. They also say that 70 percent of the reindeer killed are calfs. The reindeer are sourced from Siberia, where Polar Research journal reported a decline in wild populations.
The Daily Mail reports that Lidl is the first of several grocery store chains that will offer reindeer meat during the holiday season. Lidl has defended their sales, by pointing out that the wild animals are better off in their natural habitat than livestock that’s raised in captivity. A Lidl further pointed out that the reindeer eat local aromatic herbs and grasses. The reindeer meat is served under the grocery store’s premium Deluxe label.
Venison has recently gained gourmet popularity, not only for it’s wild flavor, but also because of its lower fat content compared to beef. According to the Deer Farmer’s Information Network, venison is only 3.3 percent fat, while ground beef is 9.76 percent fat and chicken breast is 3.42 percent.