Animal welfare groups attempt to prevent goat raising at Puck Fair

Thursday 07 August 2014 17.24
Welfare concerns were raised at last year's Puck Fair over the room available for the confined goat
Welfare concerns were raised at last year's Puck Fair over the room available for the confined goat

Animal welfare organisations are calling on Kerry County Council to prevent the ritual hoisting of a wild puck goat in Killorglin as part of the annual Puck Fair, claiming the act is in breach of new animal welfare legislation.

The groups say the act of hoisting and confining the animal in a small cage for three days and three nights over loud music and noisy crowds terrifies the animal.

One organisation said the use of a live animal pulled from the wild for amusement in this manner was something out of the dark ages.

Organisers of the Puck Fair say the animal is well-treated, adding this year's goat will have five inches of standing room between roof and horns and be checked by a vet.

Organisers added that wild goats are used to heights.

However ARAN, the Animal Rights Action Network, said Kerry County Council, which licences the fair, should cancel the raising of the goat.

ARAN spokesperson John Carmody said the goat will be 18m up in the air in varying weather conditions and will be confined, terrified and confused amongst thousands of party goers and drunken revellers.

Mr Carmody added using a terrified wild animal in such a manner is in all likelihood a breach of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, which includes freedom from fear and distress.

He also slammed the practice of using a live animal for cheap thrills as something out of the dark ages.

Animal rights group PETA has already called for an end to the practice, contacting local papers and the mayor of Kerry to voice their objections.

Welfare concerns were raised at last year’s Puck Fair with several onlookers saying the animal found it difficult to stand up in the raised cage.

John McGrath, one of the fair's new goat catchers, said the cage was exactly the same size as previous cages but the 2013 goat was too big.

Mr McGrath added that there were no such issues with this year’s goat, with five inches of room between the horns and the roof.

A spokesman for Kerry County Council said they would refer any complaints about the goat's welfare to the Department of Agriculture.