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RSPCA and PETA join debate about Latitude's dyed pink sheep

PUBLISHED: 14:07 21 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:55 21 July 2019

Latitude Festival's famous pink sheep from back in 2016.  Photo: James Bass

Latitude Festival's famous pink sheep from back in 2016. Photo: James Bass

The RSPCA charity and animal rights organisation PETA have joined the debate about the dyed pink sheep at the Latitude Festival.

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The sheep have arrived!

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It's a yearly tradition at the Suffolk festival, but not everyone was pleased to see the bright pink sheep and a number of people voiced concerns about the use of animals for entertainment.

In response to Latitude's Instagram post showing a video of the freshly dyed flock, one user called natureswaywadlincote said: "What exactly is the purpose of this? And do the sheep enjoy being dyed?"

Latitude responded with assurances of the animals' wellbeing, saying: "The sheep are dip dyed using natural, water based dye.

"They are used to dip dyeing as part of their normal farm life."

While some people accepted Latitude's statement and commented that the sheep 'look happy', there were still a number of festival-goers who protested the stunt.

Kierajollyohana said: "It's too much, poor guys, it's in their eyes and everything", and tmmynck said: "Those are living creatures not toys."

Clare_g_777 was also among those condemning the festival's tradition, calling it "animal exploitation at its finest."

Commenters remain split on the issue, with some branding the criticism 'dramatic'.

Lvgraham89 said: "For all the people saying it's cruel, bore off - we've seen these sheep for the last three years and they are as happy as Larry!"

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Similarly hannahmsmith1416 said: "I've worked and attended Latitude for years and will be today.

"The festival wouldn't do this if it caused harm."

And the RSPCA joined the debate, saying it was "very sad to see".

They tweeted: "We're a charity with no more powers than any member of the public, and unfortunately, this is not illegal.

"We want all animals treated with kindness and respect and would discourage people from painting animals for novelty purposes.

"We are approaching the festival organisers to express concerns about this."

And animal rights organisation PETA UK tweeted: "In 2019, only ignorant or cruel people still use animals as living toys, props and photo ops, let alone dye them."

PETA UK said the "thoughtless, attention-grabbing stunt", put sheep at risk getting dye in their eyes and swallowing the solution as they were dip-dyed."

But East Suffolk Council said: "In our animal welfare capacity, East Suffolk Council has no concerns about the sheep this year or in the 14 years that this activity has taken place. We are entirely happy that the water-based dye is completely safe and that the festival organisers have taken all appropriate steps to ensure the animals are content, safe and well-looked after.

"As part of our wide-ranging licensing and environmental health responsibilities, the council takes the welfare of all animals very seriously and if we had encountered any issues or felt that the sheep were suffering distress of any kind we would not permit such an activity."

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