SHEEP fair bosses are hitting back against animal rights activists after they called for a ban on sheep racing in the UK.
The fair has been running for 30 years and raises money for local charities with this year’s proceeds due to benefit the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
But animal rights activists claim the racing is, “unnatural, exploitative and frightening to animals”.
They have now set up an online petition calling for a ban on sheep racing at Masham Sheep Fair in North Yorkshire.
Mark Cunliffe-Lister, the landowner who owns the sheep, said: “The sheep are used to living in the field all year” and running to the feed is “part of their normal activity”.
He added: “There is a sweepstake on which sheep reaches the feed trough first”.
As well as racing, the two-day event in the Yorkshire Dales market town features displays, market stalls, an art exhibition and sheepdog demonstrations.
It is not the first time petition organisers have called for the event to be cancelled.
Animal right activists have previously called off similar events blaming organisers for “not asking the sheep” whether they want to take part.