Council bans funfairs from giving fish as prizes as RSPCA seeks UK ban

Council bans funfairs from giving away goldfish as prizes on their land as RSPCA campaigns to wipe out practice across the UK

  • Bristol City Council to rewrite events contracts to ‘clearly exclude animal prizes’
  • Mayor Marvin Rees announced update upon hearing of RSPCA’s push for UK ban
  • Practice is illegal in Scotland but in the rest of the UK it is left up to local councils

Funfairs have been banned from giving goldfish as prizes by Bristol City Council amid calls for a nationwide ban on the practice.    

It comes after Bristol mayor Marvin Rees told officers to rewrite events contracts after being informed about a campaign by the RSPCA to prohibit ‘pets as prizes.’

It means any future event within the council’s borders will be prohibited from gifting animals. 

Mr Rees said: ‘I will ask the events team to ensure the contract is updated to clearly exclude live animals as prizes.’  

The move came after Conservative councillor Jonathan Hucker raised the RSCPA’s Pets as Prizes campaign at a council meeting on Tuesday.

He said most people did not know how to care for fish properly, with many dying from shock or poor treatment within hours or days of being in their new home.

The ‘pets as prizes’ practice is already illegal in Scotland but in the rest of the UK it is left up to local councils – although in England and Wales, it is an offence to gift anyone under 16 an animal as a prize unless they are accompanied by an adult. 

The practice of giving ‘pets as prizes’ is already illegal in Scotland but in the rest of the UK it is left up to local councils

Mr Hucker said at the meeting: ‘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 as trophies disrespects, and exploits, species as well as being extremely harmful for their welfare.

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

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

Bristol City previously outlawed any entertainment involving the use of live animals. 

The RSPCA’s Pets as Prizes campaign said it regularly receives calls relating to animals being given away as prizes, particularly goldfish.

It said goldfish are often held in unsuitable plastic bags for long durations and taken to homes that are not adequately prepared to meet their welfare needs. 

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