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Puck Fair goat has been let down from its cage due to heatwave

Before the festival began organisers announced that the goat would have a fan in its cage during its three days in its cage.

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

Updated Aug 11th 2022, 2:26 PM

ORGANISERS HAVE CONFIRMED that the goat hoisted to a tall platform at the Puck Fair in Killorglin, Co. Kerry was brought down from his cage due to the heat at 11.30am today.

Welfare concerns were raised by campaigners in recent days due to heatwave warnings from Met Éireann during the three day festival, with a nearby Met Éireann weather station recording 29.1 degrees Celsius earlier this afternoon.

A spokesperson for the fair issued the following statement: 

“Under the 5 Freedoms of Animal Welfare, Puck Fair continues to ensure that the welfare of King Puck is their highest priority.

“Due to unprecedented spells of hot, sunny weather, King Puck was removed from the top of the stand this morning, placed in the shade with a constant supply of cold water and food, and is receiving hourly vet check-ups that continue to show that the goat has a good bill of health.”

A source told The Journal that the goat is is likely to remain down until at least tonight.

status yellow heatwave was issued by Met Éireann for Leinster and Munster before the 409-year-old festival.

The goat was less than halfway through its scheduled 48-hour spell in the cage.

The Department of Agriculture has said that it welcomes the decision to remove the goat and the Department has been in contact with an independent vet at the fair.

The Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN), has been vocal for years about the dangers posed to the goat, this year in particular.

ARAN’s founder, John Carmody issued this statement: 

“This is a great victory for public pressure and a welcomed relief for the goat who would have been enclosed in that tiny cage on one of the hottest days in years”

“If this animal was left to circle that iron cage any longer in these extreme temperatures, most likely the animal would suffer heat stroke or brain damage and potentially die.”

He called on event organisers to create a plan that will keep the history of Puck but  without involving a live animal.

Speaking on RTE Radio’s Liveline today, local vet Francesca Ayers said that it was a shame that peer pressure had to factor into the organisers’ decision.

“I’m all for traditions but you don’t need to do that to an animal,” she said.

“If people want to see goats go to a petting zoo and do that.”

A spokesman for the festival, Declan Falvey , said on Tuesday that if necessary, the animal will be taken down if the heat gets too much.

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

The goat welfare section of the fair’s official website states: “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!”

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