Success! Organizers Cancel Cruel Sheep Racing Event

Sheep racing, a popular “sport” in parts of the U.K., is both cruel and strange. What mind came up with the idea of tying stuffed toy jockeys on the backs of sheep and forcing the animals to run around a grass track?

At some of these events, spectators are even encouraged to place their bets and cheer on their favorite sheep.

That’s what the parish council of St. Mary’s Church in Woodditton, Cambridgeshire, had in mind for their annual fete. 

Along with the sales of baked goods, a bar and the traditional egg-and-spoon race, the council decided two years ago to add a live sheep race, where 50 sheep are forced to race on a grass track 76 yards long with stuffed animals on their backs.

Samantha Francis lives near the church and when she saw a road sign advertising this event, she was shocked.

The annual fete was coming up soon, so she had to act quickly. She decided to create a Care2 petition demanding that the parish council cancel the event.

“On 9th July sheep, who are timid, nervous and easily frightened, will be made to race and jump along a race course, in the heat, with a teddy bear tied to their back, while a noisy crowd shout and cheer,” Francis wrote on her petition. “This must be terrifying for them.”

Amazing Success!

Over 38,000 Care2 activists signed up to support Francis, and within just four days, she learned that her petition had succeeded and the parish council had removed the race from Woodditton’s annual fete.

Here’s her celebratory note:

“Great news! In response to this petition, the parish council has cancelled the Woodditton sheep race! Well done and thank you for signing! You really made an impact.”

Congratulations to Samantha Francis and all the Care2 members who signed up to support her. 

The BBC Adds Its Voice

The BBC covered Francis’ success and quoted a parish council spokesman who defended the sheep race. “We wouldn’t be involved in anything we remotely regarded as cruel,” he stated. ”But clearly some people do have other views, which we understand.”

As Linda B. from the U.K. commented on the petition: “Poor terrified sheep made to run for the warped pleasure of sick humans!” 

Not only are these animals forced to run but as Francis wrote in her petition: “There will also be a BBQ so they will also be able to smell the dead flesh of their fellow creatures being cooked.”

Take Action!

Given the popularity of sheep racing around the U.K., Francis decided to turn her attention to another such event, this one in Moffat, Scotland.

Inspired by her first success, Francis has created a second petition, demanding that the organizers of this sheep race also cancel their plans.

As she explains in her petition, 

“On 13th August, naturally timid and quiet sheep will be made to race against each other through the streets of Moffat, Scotland, with teddy bears strapped to their backs.

This is exploitative, degrading and frightening for the sheep.”

If you agree with Francis that exploiting animals for entertainment is wrong, please sign her petition urging the organizers of the Moffat sheep race to cancel their plans.

Photo Credit: Pixabay


natasha p
Past Member 11 months ago


Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

Melania P
Melania Padilla1 years ago

It is not right to use animals in entertainment: they don't ask for it.

One Heart i
Carl Rosenstock1 years ago


Margie F
Margie FOURIE1 years ago

Thank you

Sofia E
Sofia E1 years ago

It's things like this that are now too often making me consider leaving care2. It's ridiculous how some people think animals should be better treated than we treat ourselves. At best, we live in peaceful enough countries where our major stress factors are job uncertainty, making ends meet, dealing with the ups and downs of relationships, etc. At worst... I'm sure you've heard of the horrors of living in a conflict area. Point being, most people live in constant, quite often, much worse forms of stress. And animals in the wild? Mother Nature is not a nice, smiling, flower clad lady, she has fangs and claws and hardly anything ever dies peacefully of old age. And you're all upset because some fat, well cared for sheep get a bit stressed, once a year, in a stupid, silly race? Your grasp of reality is deeply distorted.

Janis K
Janis K1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Maggie Davey
Maggie D1 years ago

Doesn't care2 just rock?!!! Margaret Mead was SO right!

heather g
heather g1 years ago

In Canada they still hold cruel rodeo events and also pig races. I'd sign a petition to stop those - they're even crueler events. And don't forget that they kill seals.

Leo C
Leo Custer1 years ago

Thank you for posting!