NHDC to consider ban on giving animals as prizes at fairgrounds

Should goldfish be given as prizes at fairgrounds?

Should goldfish be given as prizes at fairgrounds? - Credit: Getty Images/Ingram Publishing

Councillors in North Herts are set to determine whether to ban the giving of goldfish as prizes on council land.

For generations goldfish may have been the traditional prize at fairgrounds across the country - rewarding fair-goers for throwing a dart, shooting a gun or hooking a duck.

But Liberal Democrat councillor Carol Stanier, who represents Royston Heath, believes its time for the practice to stop.

Tomorrow she will ask fellow councillors to back her calls for a ban on the giving of any live animal as a prize on land owned by the council.

She will also ask the council to write to the government asking for an outright ban across the whole of England.

Cllr Stanier points to the number of cases reported to the RSPCA each year, regarding pets being handed over at fairgrounds or through social media.

She says she's concerned for the welfare of those animals - before and after they are handed over, often to people who hadn't considered having a new pet.

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She says that the fairground environment can be stressful for the fish, and they are then handed to people who may or may not know how to care for them.

"A pet should be a planned purchase - and not something you get on impulse. People have to understand that," she said.

"It's important to recognise the responsibility of having a pet - and the need to be aware of all the things you need."

The council motion would only relate to the practice of giving animals as prize on land within the district owned by the council. The council does not have the power to extend a ban to land that is not owned by the council.

Commenting on the motion, a spokeswoman for the RSPCA said that they were also opposed to the giving of live animals as prizes, and they welcomed any moves to stamp out this practice.

"Animal ownership is a big responsibility that needs to be planned and well thought out - not a spur of the moment thing that happens just because someone has won a prize," she said.

"Games offering animals as prizes don't take this into consideration. Very often the 'prize' animals suffer miserably, as they do not have their welfare needs met prior to, during and after being given as a prize."

The motion will be considered at a meeting tomorrow at 7.30pm. The meeting is open to members of the public.