Death threats follow reindeer hospital protest
A BRISBANE man claims his peaceful protest against the use of animals to cheer up sick children in hospital has resulted in him being targetted with online death threats.
Daniel Heggie took part in a "peaceful baring of witness to animals exploited for entertainment" outside Queensland Children's Hospital in South Brisbane yesterday.
He's now found himself in the firing line with death threats and a hashtag set up overnight to track him down.
Mr Heggie and a small group of people made their stand outside the hospital to draw attention to "the suffering of the deer" brought in for sick children to pat.
He said friends had advised him not to look at the "hate" on his Facebook account which included a hashtag set up to find him, "vitriol" about vegans and a post of a dead cat one user said he shot as a "protest" against the protest.
Heggie is one of several protesters who stopped Sea World's famous dolphin show at the weekend as part of the action by Justice for Captives.
A hospital spokeswoman confirmed the protest was "peaceful"
"No patients or families were harmed yesterday. It was a peaceful protest. You wouldn't have known they were there. They kept a safe distance from the children. They had no placards and were not screaming or shouting. It was very peaceful. They just handed out some pamplets. Security asked them to move further back and they did."
Mr Heggie said reports the group were yelling or interfering with the childrens' event were wrong.
"We were there to bare witness to the deer being loaded and unloaded. To film the handlers, who were having a hard time controlling the deer and to make sure the deer and no one else was harmed.
"I wouldn't even call it a protest, it was more a baring witness to the animals and offering information to the parents."
He said parents were asked if they would like information about the deer and offered a pamphlet about the use of animals for entertainment.
"We felt the parents may be interested to know the background to the deer and that parents may be able to empathise with the animals. The deer are innocent and if we don't speak up for them - to show that under the smoke and mirrors of the sleigh and decorations the animals are being exploited."
Mr Heggie said advice from an animal behaviourist said deer move their heads up and down, freeze and startle when stressed.
"People might just think the deer are moving around looking at their surrounds when in fact they are suffering," Mr Heggie said.
"We were on public land filming. When security asked us to leave we went across the road voluntarily."
"It was a peaceful baring of witness."
"It's a shame we think we have to make children feel better by exploiting other vulnerable beings. I think the best healing and love is for sick children is from their family or other people. If they have a rescue companion - a companion is much more important for a child's healing. The idea of patting a reindeer for a minute is not a bonding experience it's teaching them animals are toys."
Mr Heggie said he did not force his way into the hospital as reported yesterday.
City South News has contacted Queensland Police and the Queensland Childrens' Hospital for comment.