King Puck is resting in the shade this afternoon after the goat was taken down from his stand in Killorglin when a local vet decided it was too hot shortly before noon.
It comes following outcry over erecting the wild mountain goat on a high metal stand — circa 50ft — in a heatwave. A status yellow high-temperature warning is currently in place for Munster, with a nationwide warning coming into place on Friday.
A spokeswoman for the fair this afternoon said the goat was “resting in the shade”.
“He is checked several times a day and this morning the vet decided it was too hot for him,” she said.
The goat is likely to be put back up once it cools, however, that decision will not be taken until later today.
A statement from the festival organising committee said:
"Under the 5 Freedoms of Animal Welfare, Puck Fair continues to ensure that the welfare of King Puck is their highest priority.
"Due to unprecedented spells of hot, sunny weather, King Puck was removed from the top of the stand this morning, placed in the shade with a constant supply of cold water and food, and is receiving hourly vet check-ups that continue to show that the goat has a good bill of health."
Traditionally at the Puck Fair, the wild goat spends the bulk of the festival on a 50ft stand overlooking the town. The festival takes place each year on August 10, 11 and 12.
The puck is looked after by a team of goat catchers, while a local vet monitors the goat’s health and he is given a full health check before his coronation and being hoisted on the stand. As well as being fed, the goat is inoculated.
Earlier this week, organisers said the goat's cage would be fitted with a cooling system and there is also fresh water in the cage.
Concerns were first raised about the welfare of the puck goat in 2015 when an animal rights organisation said the goat’s capture and confinement was wrong under the provisions of the 2013 Animal Health and Welfare Act.
Aran, the Animal Rights Action Network, said their concerns spanned the range of the festival — the catching of a wild goat, parading it through the town and exposing it to noise and drunken revelry.
The Department of Agriculture said it has no role in either the capture or the display of the animal.
However it is keeping a close eye, it said on Wednesday. And in a statement, a spokesman said:
“The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has no role in approving or licensing the capture or display of the goat at the Puck Fair.
"In relation to concerns for animal welfare associated with hot weather conditions, Minister McConalogue issued a statement in July urging farmers and livestock owners to take steps to protect their livestock during hot weather."