Row as Lidl puts Rudolph on the dinnerplate

Lidl is under fire from animal welfare campaigners after launching reindeer steaks as part of its Deluxe range.

It's not the first time that the budget supermarket has sold reindeer steaks. This year, though, they're getting a higher profile as part of a push to attract more middle-class shoppers over Christmas. The company's created a new multi-million-pound advertising campaign focused on higher-end products, including the steaks, sourced from Siberia, which will sell for £7.99.

"As in previous years, we are selling Deluxe Siberian Reindeer Leg Steaks as part of our premium range of products this Christmas. This also includes other luxury meats such as venison and partridge," says a company spokesperson.

"An incredibly positive reaction from our customers during Christmas 2010 has led to Lidl selling these every year since as we aim to offer our customers a wide variety of traditional Christmas products, as well as those they may not have had the opportunity to try before."

The move wouldn't raise any eyebrows in Scandinavia, where reindeer meat is a popular delicacy - indeed, in Norway and Greenland there is an unbroken tradition of reindeer hunting dating back to the last ice age.

However, animal welfare campaigners say the practice is cruel. Vegetarian group Viva says modern methods of hunting, which include the use of snowmobiles, motorcycles and helicopters, cause severe stress for the animals. Most meat is derived from reindeer calves, which are killed during their first summer.

Viva has been campaigning against the sale of reindeer meat for some years now, with campaigns manager Justin Kerswell commenting: "When most people in the UK think of reindeer they think of Christmas, so it is shocking to think that most reindeer killed for meat never even see the snow".

So far, it's not had much luck in taking reindeer meat off the shelves, although a previous campaign against kangaroo meat was more successful.

Do you have a problem with reindeer steaks? Or are they just another dinner option? Let us know in the comments below.