AN ANNUAL sheep race has been cancelled after animal rights activists blamed event organisers for “not asking the sheep” whether they want to take part.
The event, which involves small knitted jockeys strapped to the backs of sheep as Dumfries and Galloway punters place bets, has drawn large crowds every year since 2012.
But campaigners have fired off a petition for it to be banned on the grounds that it takes place without the animals’ consent.
Samantha Francis, who organised the petition said: “It is taking the mick.
“No one asks the sheep. They’re made to run, often they are chased to get them to run because I don’t believe they run over great distances naturally.
“Basically what we are doing is we are telling these sheep to entertain us.”
Organisers expressed deep regret after being forced to cancel the event because Dumfries and Galloway council had required that the animals be licensed in line with the Performing Animals Act 1925.
A spokesman for Moffat Promotions Group said: “The Moffat sheep races has become a firm fixture in the town’s calendar over the last five years and was a hugely successful fun day for all of the family.
“Furthermore, no objections and certainly no requests to apply this ancient act had been made until very recently.”