Town hall bans use of goldfish as fairground prizes
By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter
Handing out goldfish as fairground prizes has been banned by a town hall.
Southwark councillors voted unanimously to stop people giving out the pets as prizes on council land at a meeting last week.
The borough joins more than 20 other local authorities across England that have introduced bans on the practice in recent years.
Giving out live animals as prizes is still legal in England and Wales so long as a child is accompanied by an adult. In Scotland, the practice has been banned in almost all circumstances since 2006.
Animal charity the RSPCA has received 147 calls from members of the public concerned about fish being offered as prizes since 2015.
Southwark council has also agreed to write to the UK government, urging it to introduce a blanket ban on giving out pets as trophies on public and private land.
Labour councillors Andy Simmons and Portia Mwangangye jointly brought the motion to ban the practice at a Southwark council meeting on Wednesday of last week.
Goldfish kept for long periods in plastic bags, like those used at fairgrounds, suffer from stress and shock, according to the RSPCA. Many die from oxygen starvation or a sudden change in water temperature before making it home, the animal charity says.
Lee Gingell, from the RSPCA, said: “Animal ownership is a big responsibility – and while goldfish can make great companions, they shouldn’t be acquired via a spur-of-the-moment game.
“[They] can actually be challenging to look after and new owners must do their research before they acquire the fish, not afterwards.
“When bringing a fish home for the first time, it’s important to set the tank up at least two weeks in advance to make sure it’s all running smoothly, and this just isn’t possible for someone who’s won a fish without being prepared for it.”
Pictured top: Southwark council headquarters (Picture: Google Street View)
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