The Puck Fair tradition of suspending a goat in a cage above the town of Killorglin, Co Kerry, Ireland, went ahead this August despite activists of the animal rights group Animals Behind Closed Doors demanding it to be cancelled. The Puck Fair (or “Fair of the He-Goat”), is one of Ireland’s oldest fairs, which takes place annually from 10–12 August.
However, following longstanding opposition from animal rights activists, the organisers agreed to display the goat (who they call King Puck) for just two hours this year, rather than the full three days as has been traditional for many years.
Gerry Boland, founder of Animals Behind Closed Doors, said, “It would be petty and mean-minded of me to suggest that this wasn’t progress. It was a massive move by the Committee, they have obviously reflected on it, and the issue took over the festival last year. They have obviously gauged the public mood and realised it was not just a bunch of animal rights advocates causing a fuss.”
Every year, people go up into the mountains and catch a wild goat, who is then brought back to the town and the “Queen of Puck”, traditionally a young school girl from one of the local primary schools, crowns the goat “King Puck”.
At the 2022 festival, the goat was removed from the 50ft structure as the temperature began to rise. The use of any animal, domestic or wild, as a prop for a human festival should be banned anywhere in the world. It is a form of animal exploitation that denigrates non-human animals’ lives and often causes suffering. In this case, the treating of the goat as a “king” is an unfortunate sarcastic mockery.