Calls to stop goldfish being given away as prizes at South Shields fair
A mum has called for South Tyneside Council to take action against the ‘cruel’ and ‘outdated’ practice of giving away fish as prizes at fairgrounds.
Sue Ramiro Ibanez was holidaying in South Shields with her family when she says she was ‘shocked’ and ‘disappointed’ to see the goldfish being given away as prizes at a stall at Ocean Beach Pleasure Park.
“I couldn't believe it, I thought this was a thing of the past,” said Sue, 45.
“There is no place for it in modern society.”
While the practice is not illegal, the RSPCA is opposed to the giving away of live animals as prizes.
“Very often the ‘prize’ animals suffer miserably, as the busy fairground, show or even country fete is just too much for them,” said a spokesperson.
“They may suffer from shock, oxygen starvation or even die from changes in water temperature. Many fairground fish die before their new owners can get them home - or soon afterwards.”
Meanwhile South Shields MP, Emma Lewell-Buck has also expressed concern about the conditions the fish are kept in, she commented: “Most of these fish are transported and kept in tiny, cramped plastic bags and containers which is very unhealthy for them.
“I hope that anyone offering fish as a prize adhere to the conditions applied by the local council to pet shops in that area, such as stocking, holding and water quality criteria.”
Now Sue is calling on council bosses to introduce a ban to the practice in the borough.
She said: “I understand the local authority can introduce a code of conduct within their licensing laws to prohibit the giving away of goldfish as prizes. I would urge them to do just that to eliminate the suffering of these goldfish.”
South Tyneside Council has said they are ‘looking into’ the issue.
A spokesman said: "It is not illegal for live goldfish to be given as prizes as long as they are only given to people over the age of 16.
"However, we recognise that some members of the public may be upset by this practice and will look into this further.”
Shields Gazette has approached Ocean Beach Pleasure Park for comment.