Bristol Post

Council ban on giving goldfish as funfair prizes

- Adam POSTANS Local Democracy Reporter adam.postans@reachplc.com

It is certainly no ‘fun at the fair’ for these captive creatures ... this commercial practice is totally unacceptab­le in our more enlightene­d age

Stockwood councillor Jonathan Hucker

FUNFAIRS and carnivals are being banned from giving goldfish as prizes on Bristol City Council land.

Mayor Marvin Rees has instructed officers to rewrite events contracts to stop live animals being handed out.

It follows calls from opposition Conservati­ve councillor Jonathan Hucker who has backed a national campaign by the RSPCA to prohibit “pets as prizes”.

The Stockwood ward councillor said the tradition was “incredibly cruel and outdated” and that most people did not know how to care for fish properly, with many dying from shock or poor treatment within hours or days in their new home.

He said: “I fully support the RSPCA in this matter as I cannot see any justificat­ion for continuing a quite barbaric mistreatme­nt of animals.

“We are fortunate to live in far more enlightene­d times. It is certainly no ‘fun at the fair’ for these captive creatures.

“In many respects it demeans our own species to simply ignore or tolerate such casual abuse of sentient beings, in most cases, aquatic vertebrate­s.”

In a question to Bristol City Council member forum – effectivel­y mayor’s question time – he said: “The mayor may not have been made aware of this national campaign, but I am sure he will agree with me that this commercial practice is totally unacceptab­le in our more enlightene­d age.

“The use of live animals (predominan­tly fish) as trophies disrespect­s, and exploits, species as well as being extremely harmful for their welfare.

“Will the mayor support this initiative and help introduce a voluntary ban on such activity on any land over which the local authority has control, influence or ownership?”

In a written reply, Mr Rees said: “I fully support your aims.

“All events that take place on Bristol City Council land are subject to a policy that inhibits any form of entertainm­ent involving live animals. I will ask the events team to ensure the contract is updated to clearly exclude live animals as prizes.”

Asked by Cllr Hucker if he would also write to the Government to call for a national ban on pets as prizes, the Labour mayor replied: “Yes, but I would suggest that you and your local party would have more weight in calling on the Conservati­ve government to change the law.”

The Tmotion, which was not debated at full council because of time constraint­s, said: “This council is concerned about the number of cases reported to the RSPCA each year regarding pets given as prizes in fairground­s, via social media outlets or through other means in England - and notes that this issue predominan­tly involves the maltreatme­nt of fish.

“Such an outdated practice is clearly detrimenta­l to the welfare of what are obviously sentient creatures and, as such, should have no place in modern society.

“Moreover, it needs to be recognised that the true scale of this problem remains unknown as many incidents of abusing animals in this way may go unreported each year.

“As a point of principle and to further highlight this matter, Council would support any move to ban the giving of live animals as a reward or trophy, in any form, on local authority land.

“Furthermor­e, Council calls on the mayor to endorse this prohibitio­n on the abuse of live animals; explore the potential for this to be a factor in determinin­g the granting of public entertainm­ent licences; and for him to write to the UK Government, urging a change in the law be enacted to forbid the use of live animals in this antiquated manner outside of a family context.”

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