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Puck Fair goat removed from platform for a second time due to high temperatures

Local Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae has defended organisers saying ‘the goat’s welfare is always at the centre’ of the event.

The goat being raised on Wednesday
The goat being raised on Wednesday
Image: The Journal

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 yesterday and was put back onto the platform later in the evening when temperatures had dropped slightly.

It was then taken down for the second time in two days earlier this afternoon.

Organisers have stated:

“Following veterinary checks and a clean bill of health, King Puck was reinstated on the stand last night once temperatures dropped.  Today he is back in the shade with plenty of cold water and food while his hourly checks continue.”

A Status Yellow high temperature warning has been in place since midday yesterday for Leinster and Munster and has been extended nationwide until Monday morning.

A heat of 30 degrees was recorded in Killorglin by Met Éireann, with temperatures in the high-twenties all morning.

Tradition dictates that the goat, named King Puck,  is on the 50 foot tall platform for 48 hours before being taken down and set free or ‘de-throned’ at 6pm on 12 August, the festival’s final day.

It’s unclear if the goat will be placed onto the platform for a third time so that he can be de-throned.

Local Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae has said that organisers had been acting appropriately and that the tradition should continue.

Speaking to Radio Kerry yesterday he said:

I respect that decision to take him down on this exceptionally warm day. I don’t believe they were wrong putting him up there in the first place because they know what they were doing.

“This committee and all the committees over the last 400 years had the goat’s welfare always at the centre.”

He also criticised animal rights activists and said today, “If the goat was above in Carrauntoohil, or below in the Black Valley would a vet be monitoring him every hour?”

One of the most vocal critics of the tradition has been the Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN), with founder John Carmody saying that a new tradition should be adopted that doesn’t include a wild animal.

He said:

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.

An official vet is monitoring the goat and has been advising the organisers on the goat’s welfare so that heat stroke can be avoided.

A section on the fair’s 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!”

“Before the Puck returns to the wild he is again examined by a vet, and last year’s vet confirmed there was no physical or psychological damage in his expert opinion.”

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