Ban the Use of Live Animals as Prizes in Greenwich

Ban the Use of Live Animals as Prizes in Greenwich

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Greenwich Wildlife Network started this petition to Greenwich Council

Funfairs in the Greenwich borough have recently been giving away live fish as prizes, with little regard for whether the unprepared "winners" can provide them with a basic standard of care.

Please join us in urging Greenwich Council to ban the use of living animals as prizes in the borough. This outdated practice not only results in unnecessary suffering for the fish, but also promotes irresponsible pet ownership to children; the idea that it is wise to obtain animals on a whim, with no prior planning or research.

We became aware of this issue locally when a volunteer spotted someone at a Greenwich pub with two goldfish in a bucket on the table - this was captured on video. They remained in the bucket, swimming in a few inches of water, for several hours, while their new owners drank and socialised.

This is the danger if live animals are wantonly given out to random members of the public, with zero measures in place to ensure that they will be properly looked after, or that they will even make it home alive. In other boroughs, goldfish have even been found dumped in the area around fairs.

Although often regarded as a "starter" fish, goldfish produce large amounts of waste, and actually need fairly big aquariums in order to thrive - UK charity Fish Rescue & Welfare (FRW) recommends a minimum of 100 liters for one fish, with an extra 40 liters for any additional fish.

Whilst funfairs may have plastic tanks on sale to those who "win" goldfish, these can fall drastically below this minimum size, often being between just 2-8 liters. FWR also advises that fairground fish are often the variety suited to ponds, and not household aquariums at all.

Goldfish may also be left in buckets for hours at a time after being "won", as our volunteer recently witnessed. In just a few inches of water, ammonia will quickly be building up, and the fish will literally be suffocating in their own waste. Things are unlikely to improve once they arrive at their new home. Any experienced fish keeper will tell you that all aquariums must be "cycled", with a filter installed, for weeks before any fish are introduced. This is to ensure proper water quality. Of course, unless you are expecting a fish and have prepared their housing in advance, you will not have taken this basic step.

The above amounts to multiple failures on the part of the fairs to ensure even the most minimal standard of treatment for the fish that they are handing out. So how is this acceptable in this day and age?

Whilst many people who win fish will do their very utmost to care for their new pet, this will not be true of all. Not being prepared for a new pet, and not having proper guidance or housing in place, sets up goldfish winners for failure, and ultimately, will lead to many fish suffering and dying. Is this really neccesary, for a bit of fun? Are there not plenty of alternative prizes that can be given, that are not living things?

Live animals are not objects. They are not prizes. And regardless of species, they all deserve a basic standard of care and not to be made to suffer unnecessarily, even fish. This is the message we should impart to kids in the Greenwich borough. So why aren't we?

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