Fantasy or Reality?

Born Free Foundation, the UK wild animal welfare charity, is shocked to learn that Hamleys, the world-famous London toy shop, is planning an event featuring live penguins and reindeer in store. Our message to Hamleys? Please don’t do it!

The stress of transportation and being surrounded by hoards people in an unnatural environment is one reason to call this stunt off. The totally inappropriate message that penguins and reindeer are little more than ‘living toys’ is another.

Please e-mail Hamleys at or contact the store via their Facebook page and politely urge them to reconsider.

Come on Hamleys – celebrate the Christmas Season with compassion and help keep wildlife in the wild instead!

Blogging off, Will

16 Responses to “Fantasy or Reality?”

  1. Heather MacAndrew Says:

    In this day and age when children are being educated and becoming more concerned about the welfare of animals, I am astonished to hear that you intend to bring wild animals into your store to promote Xmas. The stress that this will cause to these animals make this an unacceptable practice.
    I have a six year old grandson who tells me that leopards are in danger because “the men are cutting down trees”.
    Children know that penguins do not feature in any part of xmas and reindeer do not belong in shops.
    The stress of transportation and being surrounded by hoards people in an unnatural environment is one reason to call this stunt off. The totally inappropriate message that penguins and reindeer are little more than ‘living toys’ is another.

  2. Rebecca Michael Says:

    Please could you most definitely reconsider ‘your Penguin event’ as promoted on your website. I find it hard to appreciate the value in this for the ‘penguins’ / or any other live animal within your store. Horrendous idea.

  3. #sHamleys, what on earth are you doing? – Wildlife & travel images by Darren Hector Says:

    [...] I want to give a really big shout out for the people who brought this to my attention, Born Free.  If there’s a charity that deserves your support it’s these guys.  Founded by [...]

  4. Shepy Says:

    You’d likely be interested to know that there is a massive twitter protest / awareness campaign going on around this, stemming from this blog post.

    All thanks to Darren Hector (@WildlifePhotog on twitter)


  5. Maren Dallmann Says:

    I’m fuming but kept it polite – not easy

  6. Nico D Says:

    Do they realise the stress the animals will go thru ?
    In the time of flu and other viruses, is this a good for the animals to be kept in an enclosed area and allowing people to touch them ?

    A great profiteering time for Hamley’s since I’m sure they will, all of a sudden, have stacks of penguins and deers for children to nag their parents to buy for them!

    Nothing new, money talks!


    Hey Hamleys, you’re grown ups, you should know that animals are not toys !

  8. Laura Says:

    I too posted on the facebook page and it was deleted in seconds..

  9. Tim Nunn Says:

    Hamleys on Twitter: @HamleysToys

    They can’t delete tweets!

  10. sarah chilvers Says:

    I have emailed them and said that please think about animal welfare for a change, before gimmick and money.

  11. Luis O'Connor Says:

    Wild is not an agressive word, it’s just the nature essence of life. Wild is equilibrium and harmony, just as music is. When man learnt that life is the only richness we can reach while walk in the human body, perhaps, we could feel the real freedom, so, we will be able to share our freedom, because it is the only way to have it.

  12. joy Bell Says:

    I object to the use of wild animals being used as attractions.

  13. Angela Songui Says:

    Sent Hamley’s an email – was never a fan of the place and this gives me yet another reason to give it a pass this holiday season. I have passed the information onto many in my PR contacts list.
    Would you be able to inform me as to contact details for the ‘provider’ of this shameful entertainment? I’d like to drop them a line as well.
    Keep up you fine work!

  14. Raph G. Neckmann Says:

    Tried to leave a comment on Facebook, but the comments box seems to have disappeared!

    I’m shocked that Hamleys can’t think of a creative and non-cruel way to attract customers into the store.

  15. Sarah Carolan Says:

    They’ve got a FB page for their Glasgow store as well, where they’re advertising live reindeer too. I’ve posted on this page as well as the London store’s. Here’s the link if anyone wants to comment.

  16. Marjorie Beachill Says:

    Hamley’s sell toys….that’s what you do best…..You are not a zoo! Please reconsider your marketing strategy that involves penguins and reindeer. Let children learn about these animals and how they survive in their natural habitat. The money you are spending on this could be used to make a difference instead of creating such controversy. Isn’t it time we all start singing from the same hymn sheet and work toward protecting animals and their natural habitat? Please, reconsider this silly advertising stunt.