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10th Aug 2023

Activists call for an end to inclusion of wild goats at Puck Fair Festival

Fiona Frawley

puck fair killorglin goat

Controversy has surrounded the festival for years.

Animal rights activists have called for an end to the annual capture and confinement of a wild goat as part of the Puck Fair Festival in Killorglin, Co. Kerry.

Taking place in August every year, Puck Fair is a three-day festival which starts when a goat-catcher goes up into the mountains to catch a wild goat, and brings him back to the town where he is crowned King Puck. He is then sat atop an elevated stand for 3 days, after which he is returned to the wild.

Controversy has surrounded the festival in recent years, with the goat being taken down from his cage multiple times throughout 2022’s fair due to concerns around the animal’s welfare in the heatwave at the time.

For this year, festival organisers announced that the goat will now spend much less time suspended in its cage.

However, animal rights activists have called on the festival to go a step further and completely eradicate the use of goats in the fair.

The Puck Fair festival in Killorglin
The Puck Fair festival in Killorglin (Photo via Rolling News)

National Animal Rights Association Spokesperson Laura Broxson believes that the festival can continue to thrive without the use of live animals at the centre of things.

While noting the efforts to limit the goats time in the cage, Ms Broxson said they didn’t go far enough, probably because they were “fearful of some sort of backlash.”

“I think the committee themselves are making an attempt to fizzle it out. They haven’t gone far enough; but if they can admit that it’s wrong to keep a goat up in a cage for three days, then surely they can’t think that’s it’s OK to have him around for a couple of hours,” she said on Newstalk Breakfast this morning.

“It’s an attempt, but it’s not good enough and it needs to be the last time that a goat is used for this fair.

“If they need to have a symbolic goat figure, they could have competitions in wood-carving, sculpting, they could have an animatronic goat if they want to – they could have a teddy bear goat if they want to.

“Anything else will do, they can be innovative with this, just take live animals out of it.”

Ms Broxon also noted that there would be much more uproar if a house pet like a cat or a dog was put up in the cage.

This year’s festival began today, Thursday 10 August and will run until Saturday 12.

This article originally appeared on 

Lead images via Getty


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