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Stop the giving of Goldfish as Fairground Prizes

While it may be perfectly legal to give a goldfish as a prize, it is morally wrong and is obvious animal cruelty.

Fish are sentient beings, not mere objects. They are very delicate and their well-being depends directly on their environment. Being in a tiny plastic bag full of water for hours on end is not a proper environment. The way the goldfish are kept before they go in a bag is also not fish friendly. They are stressed out by the mere circumstances and handling.

What happens to a goldfish once it is handed over to its new owner, which in most cases will be a child? If it doesn't die during transport it will die shortly after. This is due to a lack of knowledge and poor handling in its new home often in the form of a small plastic bowl, which may have been bought from the stall. Some end up being flushed down the toilet in a half-dead state.

Getting a fish is something that needs serious consideration and should not be a spontaneous decision. The worst of all circumstances is winning a fish on a fairground.

Mothers tell us of the drama when their children notice that the poor fish is floating around in the plastic bag or in a container belly up. A cuddly soft toy is a much better prize for a child and can be enjoyed and played with for a long time.

Is it really commercially viable to keep goldfish on fairgrounds? How many die without even being given away? Does the breeder sell them in good condition?

It may be argued that it is an old English tradition to give away goldfish as prizes at fairgrounds; however, society has evolved over time. Whilst bull and bear baiting, public executions and burning at the stake were once traditions in this country they have rightly been abandoned.

In 2010 Pleasureland Southport, Merseyside decided to no longer have goldfish. This animal-friendly decision did not cause them any financial losses. In fact, the general public applauded the decision when it was reported in the local paper.

People don't go to a fairground because of the goldfish. They go for the fun of a day out and to enjoy the rides.

We are calling on all who feel that this outdated and cruel practise must be stopped to make a concerted effort to bring this about.

Things to do:

  1. Contact your local council and ask them to ban the giving of goldfish as prizes on council land.
    Also ask them to discourage private landowners from allowing this to happen on their land.

  2. Get in touch with the umbrella organisation for fairgrounds (The Showmens Guild of Great Britain - address below) and ask them to encourage their members to stop this practise.

Keith Miller
Guild House
41 Clarence Street
TW18 4SY
Tel: 01784 461805
Fax: 01784 461732



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