Urge Radio City Music Hall to Stop Using Live Animals in Holiday Shows

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Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular features live camels, sheep, and donkeys in Nativity scenes, even though it’s highly stressful and confusing to animals to be transported, placed in unfamiliar settings, and forced to endure large crowds and loud noises.

In December 2023, actor Alec Baldwin sent a letter on PETA’s behalf urging the CEO of Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp., which owns Radio City Music Hall, to make the season’s production the last to use live animals. He pointed out that it’s highly stressful and confusing for animals to be hauled from city to city in cramped trucks, stored backstage like props, and subjected to disorienting lights.

“The Christmas Spectacular already features extremely talented human performers, and reinventing the iconic show to be animal-free would bring it into the modern era and truly align it with the Christmas spirit,” Baldwin wrote. “Please ensure that this year’s show will be the last that uses animals and give this archaic practice a high kick out of your production and into the history books.”


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To underscore Baldwin’s message, PETA members dressed as elves dumped wheelbarrows full of coal on the doorstep of Radio City Music Hall on December 21 to illustrate that the venue will stay on Santa’s “naughty” list until it evolves with the times and makes the Christmas Spectacular animal-free.

Animals exploited in these types of displays are frequently rented from exhibitors. Their handlers commonly use whips, food deprivation, and other abusive tools and techniques to make them obey commands out of fear of physical punishment, and their living conditions are typically dismal. For decades, Radio City Music Hall has worked with Dawn Animal Agency, a notoriously cruel animal exhibitor that has been violating federal law for just as long. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited it for failing to keep enclosures clean and in good repair, failing to provide animals with adequate space, and having incomplete veterinary programs. Just this year, the exhibitor was cited for having cluttered, damaged, and grime-filled enclosures as well as for storing food near dangerous chemicals, which could lead to toxic contamination.

All animals can experience fear, pain, and stress, just as we can, and they should never be put in harm’s way for any show. Christmas Spectacular already features immensely talented human performers, and reinventing the show to dazzle audiences without exploiting animals would be truly aligned with the Christmas spirit.

Please join PETA in urging Radio City Music Hall not to use live animals in future shows.

James L.
Madison Square Garden Entertainment

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