"These are sentient beings, not party props"
A petition has been launched, calling for Latitude Festival to stop dyeing sheep pink.
The festival’s pink sheep wandering around the site have become a memorable feature of the Suffolk festival over the last 14 years. But now after PETA and the RSPCA spoke out against the stunt, a Change.org petition calling for them to stop changing the colour of the sheep has attracted thousands of signatures.
“Latitude festival has dyed a flock of sheep pink and released them onto the festival grounds,” the petition reads. “These are sentient beings, not party props. Intelligent and sensitive, these animals are easily frightened and will not appreciate the loud noise and drunken revellers.
“The sheep should be removed from the grounds immediately and this tradition should not be allowed to continue.”
While PETA slammed the dyeing of sheep as a “thoughtless, attention-grabbing stunt”, the RSPCA said it was “sad to see”.
“We want all animals treated with kindness and respect and would discourage people from painting animals for novelty purposes, and are contacting the festival organisers to express our concerns,” wrote the RSPCA on Twitter.
East Sussex Council however, said that they have “no concerns” regarding Latitude dyeing sheep.
“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,” a council spokesperson told The Guardian.
“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.”
The festival have since responded to criticism, arguing that the practice is entirely ethical and cruelty-free.
“They’re dip dyed using natural, water based dye which they are used to as part of their normal farm life for insecticides and parasites like itch-mite, blow-flies, ticks and lice,” wrote a Latitude spokesperson on Twitter.
Latitude 2019 took place over this weekend, with headline performances from George Ezra and Lana Del Rey, as well as Stereophonics who stepped in to replace Snow Patrol.