RETAIL giant Ikea has been slammed by Europe's largest vegetarian organisation for offering reindeer meat to Christmas shoppers. Viva! are calling on the company to withdraw sales of the meat, due to the cruel exploitation these wild animals suffer at the hands of herders. Due to increasing demand for reindeer meat, traditional methods of herding in Nordic countries where they are found, have given way to chasing reindeer on snowmobiles and motorcycles, as well as helicopters. This and lassoing, according to Viva!, causes huge amount of stress for these animals. They can become so distraught that their muscle can literally waste away. The organisation has received complaints from supporters that Swedish-based Ikea, are currently stocking "slices of reindeer salami'. Viva! campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, says: "We are very concerned about the exploitation of wild animals for meat. As well as being chased from the land and air, once they are caught, their misery doesn't end there. In Sweden, some reindeer face a gruelling journey of up to 1,000km to the slaughterhouse where they face anything but a humane end.' More than 70 per cent of reindeer slaughtered for meat are calves that have grazed during the summer, which means they never even get to see snow. "Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, can anyone really justify this torment for just a bit or twisted festive fun' We urge the company to set an ethical example of good will by dropping the sale of reindeer meat, instead of supporting an industry spreading pain and suffering, not happiness this Christmas, " added Mr Kerswell. Eating any animal causes suffering, so please consider going veggie this Christmas. Contact Viva! for free veggie festive recipes on 0117 944 1000 or visit www.viva.org./christmas. ENDS For more information about this media release, contact press officer Helen Rossiter or Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.