Campaigners in Greenwich are urging the council to do more to stop the use of living animals as prizes at funfairs.
A petition, led by Greenwich Wildlife Network , has been set up to encourage Greenwich Council to do more to end the practice, which has been described as ‘outdated’, though it is still legal in England and Wales.
The petition was set up yesterday (September 9) and has 306 signatures so far – the group is hoping to reach more than 1,000 signatures.
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The petition states: “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.
“This outdated practice not only results in unnecessary suffering for the fish, but also promotes irresponsible pet ownership to children.”
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Those who have signed the petition so far have been quick to share their thoughts. One worried local described the practice as “barbaric”.
Another said: “They used to do this when I was a kid. I’m now 66! I thought it was no longer allowed. This is disgraceful. These are living creatures.”
Rae Gellel, founder of the Greenwich Wildlife Network, said: “We’re failing to meet the most basic needs of fish, both at the fair and when they get home.
“The fairs’ profit margins aren’t dependent on their ability to give away fish and it’s encouraging completely the wrong attitude to getting a pet.”
Rae also told My London that six fish won at a recent Greenwich fair were found dumped at Greenwich Ecology Park – five of them were dead.
Greenwich Wildlife Network is not the first group to raise awareness about the welfare of fish won at funfairs – the RSPCA has also launched campaigns in the past to ban the practice.
The charity said it regularly receives calls relating to animals being given away as prizes, particularly goldfish.
“Goldfish are easily stressed and very often, fish that are won as prizes suffer miserably from shock, oxygen starvation or die from changes in water temperature, and many will die before their new owners can even get them home,” the animal welfare charity said.
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A spokesperson from Greenwich Council said that the sale or giving away of fish as prizes at Greenwich funfairs is not something they allow.
Rae from the Greenwich Wildlife Network said: “A couple of people we’ve spoken to have said that it was banned in Greenwich, but we’ve not been able to find any more information than that, not even from the council who we haven’t even got a response from.
“They are being given away in Greenwich – if that’s not the council’s responsibility, then whose is it?”
Greenwich Council has been approached for further comment.
For more information about the campaign and to sign the petition, click here .
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