A petition against the stunt, which has become a 14-year-long tradition, has received more than 1,700 signatures – attracting the support of vegan celebrity, Lucy Watson, who Tweeted: “Signed. Please do the same. Animals are not there to be used as a marketing ploy.”
Animal-rights organization, RSPCA, also spoke out to ‘discourage people from painting animals for novelty purposes’ – adding that it couldn’t do anything as the Festival isn’t breaking any laws.
‘Thoughtless, attention-grabbing stunt’
While vegan charity, PETA, said: “In 2019, only ignorant or cruel people still use animals as living toys, props, and photo ops. We’ve learned enough about animals to know to respect and admire them for their ability to live in a world we’re fast destroying.
“This thoughtless, attention-grabbing stunt by Latitude Fest put sheep at serious risk of getting dye in their eyes and swallowing the solution as they were dip-dyed, which involves being completely submerged in liquid, their heads likely held down with a crook so that the dye would cover their entire body.
“And the abuse didn’t stop there. These gentle prey animals are easily stressed and would have been terrified of the loud music and rowdy, drunk festivalgoers.”
A spokesperson for East Suffolk Council commented on behalf of Latitude, stating: “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 organizers 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.”