Welfare concerns over cage for Puck Fair

Hoisting wild goat and confining it in small cage for three days could breach legislation

Pat Cahill and John McGrath at Dingle Bay in Co Kerry with the captured wild mountain goat that will be crowned King Puck. Photograph: Don Macmonagle

Pat Cahill and John McGrath at Dingle Bay in Co Kerry with the captured wild mountain goat that will be crowned King Puck. Photograph: Don Macmonagle

Fri, Aug 8, 2014, 01:00

Animal welfare organisations are calling on Kerry County Council to step in ahead of the Puck Fair in Killorglin on Sunday, claiming the act of hoisting a wild puck goat confining it in a small cage for three days is in breach of new animal welfare legislation.

One organisation said the use of a live animal “pulled from the wild” for amusement in this manner was something “out of the dark ages”.

However, Puck Fair organisers claim the animal will be well treated and this year’s goat, the 401st, will have five inches of standing room between roof and horns.

The Animal Rights Action Network (Aran) said Kerry County Council should cancel the raising of the goat. The puck goat will be placed 60ft in the air in “varying weather conditions” and will be “confined, terrified and confused amongst thousands of party goers and drunken revellers”, John Carmody, spokesman for the organisation, said yesterday.

Using a terrified wild animal in such a manner is in all likelihood a breach of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, he warned. “The Act includes freedom from fear and distress,” he said.

Animal rights body Peta has already called for an end to the practice, contacting local papers and the mayor of Kerry to voice its objections.

Concerns were raised last year about the welfare of the goat after a new cage was introduced, with several onlookers saying the animal found it difficult to stand up .