East Suffolk Council has sought to calm recent uproar over a major festival's decision to dye sheep pink by saying it is 'completely safe'.
Latitude Festival, held in Henham Park, Suffolk, posted a clip on social media showing the sheep, part of a tradition that's been going on for 14 years.
The music and arts event, which took place over the weekend, shared the video with the caption: “The sheep have arrived!”
The sheep have arrived! ???? pic.twitter.com/wY1oIuX3nB— Latitude Festival (@LatitudeFest) 18 July 2019
But some social media users criticised the organisers of animal abuse and thousands have signed a petition in protest.
Animal rights organisation PETA UK 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.”
But Latitude organisers responded by saying the sheep are well-cared for and that it is part of 'normal farm life'.
“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,” a statement said.
'Completely safe water-based dye'
Responding to the social media outrage, East Suffolk Council said it has 'no concerns' about the 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.
“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 council added that farmers undertake routine checks on the animals while they are on the site.