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Raising of King Puck goat goes ahead amid animal welfare concerns

The festival organisers say the animal is well cared for and his welfare is a priority.

Source: puckfairofficial/YouTube

A GOAT HAS been hoisted into the air, where it will remain for two days, as part of the Puck Fair.

The goat is the 401st King Puck and was hoisted 60ft into the air as part of the festival in Killorglin, Co Kerry.

The Puck Fair is Ireland’s oldest traditional fair, with the first one believed to have taken place in 1613. As well as the hoisting of the King Puck goat, there is a range of events taking place including a cattle fair, horse fair and live music.

The mountain goat is taken from the wild and then sent back to the wild after the festival.

There have been a number of complaints on the official Puck Fair Facebook page about the goat.

Animal rights activist group ARAN said it made appeals to authorities and the organisers of the fair to halt the hoisting of the goat.

It is now looking into whether the incident breaches part of the five freedoms in the revised Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.

Puck Fair response

In response to the concerns, a spokesperson from Puck Fair told TheJournal.ie that the welfare of King Puck “is the priority at all times”.

To that end the goat chosen each year is brought from whichever mountain farm it is selected from and paddocked in a farmyard three weeks before the Fair to ensure he becomes familiar with his handlers and secure around people in general. At the initial stage the goat is examined and inspected thoroughly by a vet who determines that the goat is in good health. The vet issues a certificate of health to that effect.

The goat is then gradually introduced to more people and by the start of the fair is “well used to interacting with people at close quarters”, said the organisers.

On the day of the coronation King Puck is once again examined by a vet before being brought in a controlled manner in a strictly stewarded parade to the Goat Stand on the main square. Members of the public are barriered a minimum of five metres from the stand as the coronation takes place.

The fair organisers said the the goat is not, as claimed, hoisted and left alone for three days on the stand.

“King Puck is placed on his platform at 6pm on August 10th and removed from the stand at 6pm on August 12th – 48 hours later,” they said, adding that during that time he is:

  • Checked three times a day by his handlers.
  • Brought down and examined daily by a vet.
  • Fed and watered twice a day.

“In fact, the Puck Fair committee has always been to the forefront of animal welfare, ensuring a safe and secure environment for the hundreds of animals on sale at both the horse fair on August the 10th and cattle fair on August 11th,” they continued.

They also said that the evening concert stages are specifically designed to ensure the goat is not affected, with special angled speakers being used to ensure the spread of sound does not reach the goat.

It is ludicrous to suggest that a mountain goat would have a problem being out in all weathers and patently ignorant to suggest he is afraid of heights.

“While we respect people’s views in relation to animal welfare, we understand that some organisations are never going to be convinced that King Puck is indeed treated like a King,” said the fair.

“He is, and we are happy for the Department of Agriculture to have an audience with him at any time.”

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