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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019
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Scaled-down protest at Puck Fair after alleged threatening calls to activists

ARAN wants the goat removed from the festival and has appealed to the “common decency” of festival-goers.

Members of animal rights group ARAN stage a protest in Killorglin this morning.
Members of animal rights group ARAN stage a protest in Killorglin this morning.
Image: ARAN

ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUP ARAN has scaled down its Puck Fair protest in Killorglin, Co Kerry after activists claim they were threatened with being ‘beaten out of town’ this time last year.

Only four ARAN supporters went ahead with their demonstrations at the town’s Puck Statue, to urge festival organisers not to hoist a wild mountain goat into the air and confine him to a tiny cage for the duration of the three-day festival.

Puck Fair is one of Ireland’s oldest festivals and involves a goat catcher going up into the mountains to catch the ‘King Puck’ each year.

The goat is then brought back to the town where he is crowned, and paraded through Killorglin.

He is then elevated onto a high stand in the town square for three days before he is led back to his mountain home.

Spokesperson for ARAN John Carmody told TheJournal.ie that while they could have acquired more activists, this year’s protest served as “more of a gentle reminder” to festival-goers.

“We have let organisers know how we feel and we are appealing to people’s common decency to ask them to see what we are trying to say about this poor animal,” Carmody said.

“We had a demonstration planned for last year and we definitely said we weren’t going to go ahead with something like that for this year so we are doing something smaller. The last thing we want is any sort of confrontation from people down here,” he said.

puck Source: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Last year ARAN called off their protest after receiving a number of threatening calls. They circulated one of the alleged threats last August, after it’s claimed a member was told:

You know what? If ye come anywhere near the f***in’ town where it’s held, ye will be f***in’ beaten out of the town, and you can mark my words on that you silly f***er.

However the ARAN founder said they had received no such phone calls this year.

South Kerry TD Michael Healy Rae, a vocal backer of the festival, said this morning that the animal rights group must not have much support if they were unable to acquire more than four activists.

“If they were capable of getting 50 people or 500 people why didn’t they go ahead and do it if they were able to put it together? Obviously they don’t have the type of support they might think or like to have,” he said.

Healy Rae disagrees with protesters who have previously voiced concerns about the welfare of the wild-caught goat and he maintains that he is ”continually monitored and checked” by a vet.

He also said that the goat is treated very well over the three day festival and even puts on weight before he returns to the wild.

“No animal puts on weight unless they are doing good. For any animal to thrive and improve they have to be well treated,” he said.

mhr Michael Healy Rae Source: PA WIRE

In 2015 there were plans for around 50 campaigners to stage an hour-long protest to urge festival organisers to leave the “confused and terrified animal” out of the fair, but the action was called off at the last minute.

Ireland’s original and oldest ‘Gathering Festival’ continues until Friday and it can be traced as far back as 1613.

Read: ‘You’ll be f***ing beaten out of town’: Puck Fair protest cancelled after threatening calls >

Read: Animal rights campaigners want to “take the Puck out of the fair” >

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Alison O'Riordan

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