FATHER CHRISTMAS had to abandon his sleigh when he visited Alicante City’s Europea and La Mar Salada school.
Instead he used a boat-shaped carnival float after Marisol Moreno, city hall’s Animal Protection councillor, vetoed the four reindeer hired to pull Papa Noel’s sleigh.
Cantabria-based Ruben Matanza who puts on events using animals, said afterwards that after receiving a verbal go-ahead from the Animal Protection department, Moreno withheld permission.
“She told me over the phone that animals are banned in Alicante City and by-laws only permit activities to promote adopting cats and dogs,” Matanza continued.
Despite explaining that no cruelty was involved and the reindeer would teach the children about the importance of nature, Moreno was adamant.
Matanza might be a very good person and do everything correctly, but she would not allow him to come to Alicante with animals, the councillor said.
Luis Barcala, spokesman for the Partido Popular in opposition at city hall, asked what would go next: “Christmas trees? Poinsettias?” he wanted to know. “Worst of all, we Alicantinos know this won’t be the last time that city hall puts its foot in it this Christmas.”