Most people who win a goldfish at the fair are unprepared to buy the proper tank and give their new pet the attention it needs. Consequently, these fish have a high risk of death due to negligent care. Their novelty wears off quickly and most people are not prepared to accept the full responsibility of caring for the fish.
From PETA's website: "The fate of goldfish... and other animals who are given away as prizes or as promotional gimmicks at ping-pong booths, ring-toss booths, and other game areas is often grim. Reports of dead and dying animals being tossed into garbage cans near these booths pour into PETA's office every year. Booth operators view the animals as expendable commodities, and deaths resulting from inadequate handling and care are written off as a small cost of doing business.
Those who "win" animals are provided little or no instruction about the care of the species handed over to them, so animals who manage to survive often subsequently die because of improper care. Many animals are discarded when the novelty wears off or when the family tires of caring for them."
It makes me very upset to know that this is happening in my area. I've grown up in Sonoma County and I'm so proud to live in a place where, generally, there is a lot of respect for animals. I've been to the fair many times and have always enjoyed myself, but I can't have a truly good time without being upset by the knowledge that many of these goldfish will be mistreated.
Please join me in asking the Sonoma County Fair to stop giving goldfish away as prizes.