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Move to stop 'cruel' goldfish fair prizes in Cannock

Cannock Chase | News | Published:

The ‘cruel and outdated practice’ of giving away live goldfish as fairground prizes could be stopped in Cannock.

In Scotland it has been illegal to give away or offer an animal as a prize, except in a family situation, for more than a decade.

But in England it is only an offence to give away an animal as a prize if the recipient is under 16 and not accompanied by an adult.

Recently-elected Cannock Chase Council member Claire Wilkinson is now calling for tighter restrictions to stop the practice in the district.

Speaking at last week’s full council meeting she said: “We all enjoy a visit to the fair, the circus or one of the many festivals or events held across our district. Whilst we enjoy it animals should not suffer.

“Over the past few months a couple of issues have arisen in neighbouring council areas where goldfish are being offered as prizes in fairground games and I have been contacted by several residents concerned about this cruel and outdated practice.

"Giving live animals as prizes is not against the law, unless they are giving them away to unaccompanied children.

“This is not something that has been observed in our district and we note that the district council has existing policies regarding not allowing animals performing as a part of a circus.

"Addressing this with a positive policy statement will reinforce the councils’ and the residents’ strong commitments to the rights of animals.”

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Councillor Wilkinson has urged the council to draw up a new policy to ban the offering of live animals as prizes at events such as fairs and festivals that are held on district council land, supported by or licensed by the council.

The meeting was told that the proposal will be put on the agenda for the council’s next cabinet meeting. This is due to be held on Thursday, August 23.

Neighbouring Stafford Borough Council already prohibits the giving away of live animals as prizes on land it owns or manages, council spokesman Will Conaghan said.

By Kerry Ashdown, Local Democracy Reporter

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