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Puck Fair goat may be given fan to cope with heatwave amid cruelty concerns

Traditionally the wild goat spends three days and three nights on a tall stand overlooking the town of Killorglin.

The Puck Fair goat in 2015.
The Puck Fair goat in 2015.
Image: Eamonn Farrell

THE MOUNTAIN GOAT which will be crowned King Puck tomorrow at Puck Fair in Killorglin, Co Kerry may be given a fan to cool him down, a spokesman for the event has said.

A hot spell of up to 29 degrees may begin tomorrow and a status yellow heatwave has been issued by Met Éireann for Leinster and Munster during the 409-year-old festival.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Liveline today, a campaigner who runs an animal sanctuary said it would be cruel to keep up the tradition of placing the King Puck on a 50-foot tall platform for the duration of the three day festival.

“Would you feel okay being suspended in the air in some cage on a metal stand in these sweltering temperatures?” the campaigner from ARAN, the Animal Rights Action Network, said.

A spokesman for the festival, Declan Falvey , said that if necessary, the animal will be taken down if the heat gets too much and that the goat will be given a health check and well-looked after.

“The water is changed on a regular basis and a local farmer sources the best of heather,” Falvey said, adding that a fan will be in the cage this year.

He said that the cage had also been made bigger recently and insisted that “this is a wild mountain goat, used to living on heights”.

“We will do everything in our power and if it means keeping him down we will keep him down,” he said.

The goat is a hardy animal and the breeze from up high would keep him cool, he also said.

A veterinary nurse based in Kilorglin also rang in to say that having the goat up there was “inexcusable” and that goats are heat-sensitive.

She said that heat stroke could impact the animal before organisers were aware that anything was wrong and that putting the goat on the stand during the festival could be fatal.

This year’s goat is white and brown and was captured from the the Reeks mountains near Kilorglin, as per tradition.

He will be fed and inoculated for the festival and veterinary inspections have already taken place according to organisers.

The goat will be led back into the mountains after the festival – which includes music, dancing and fairs – has concluded.

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