Masham Sheep Fair organisers respond to petition calling for ban on sheep racing

Masham Sheep Fair - sheep racing at the event last year.Masham Sheep Fair - sheep racing at the event last year.
Masham Sheep Fair - sheep racing at the event last year.
A petition by animal rights activists to ban sheep racing from the Masham Sheep Fair has attracted over 60,000 signatures in just 10 days.

But organisers of the fair told the ‘Gazette that ‘racing’ overplays the event, that four sheep are fed in a trough and the public do a sweepstake on which will be first to get to the trough, and that sheep are always pleased to be fed.

Petition launcher Samantha Francis has branded the practice “unnatural, exploitative and degrading.” Claiming three victories at three other sheep fairs in the UK, Lambentations was set up by Samantha and Joshua Francis as a movement aiming to ban sheep racing worldwide.

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Mrs Francis said: “Sheep are not runners for a start, they are very quite and timid creatures. Being forced to race is unnatural, people scream and shout at them. It is a very stressful thing to put them through.

“They are already abused for wool and meat, they shouldn’t be abused for our entertainment as well. Most people agree that using animals in circuses is wrong, and this is not that big a leap."

Mrs Francis said there are alternatives.

She said: “Parents could dress up as sheep, or children could take part as a fun activity, just something where the creatures taking part give their consent.”

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