Lancashire

Fairground goldfish prize ban called for by schoolgirl

Goldfish in a bag
Image caption Fish can be given as prizes in England and Wales if the person is over 16, or is accompanied by an adult

A schoolgirl from Blackburn is campaigning to ban live fish being awarded as prizes at fairgrounds and attractions.

Emily Hurst, 12, started a petition against the practice after seeing fish in bags during a trip to a local fair.

She said: "Some were dead, some of them had fins hanging off, it was just a really terrible sight to see."

Current law states fish can be given as prizes in England and Wales if the person is over 16, or is with an adult.

'In tears'

Emily said she had been offered a fish at a 'hook-a-duck' stall, even though she had not been with an adult at the time.

She said: "I refused the fish and I ran off in tears because it was such a horrible sight.

"I think it's really cruel that they're kept that way, next to noisy fairground attractions."

She added: "I wouldn't like to be a fish in a little plastic bag."

Her Saving Goldfish Forever petition has more than 3,000 signatures and she has spoken to MPs Jake Berry and Jack Straw about the issue.

She plans to hand in the petition in August, as it coincides with a Guides trip to London.

Her local pet shop in Blackburn has backed her campaign, with the owner offering to provide advice on how to look after goldfish.

Council bans

Ashley Cook, from Aquamania, said: "They're not being fed properly, if they are being fed they're creating waste in the bag - you wouldn't want to live in your own toilet."

In the 2006 Animal Welfare Act the then government watered down a total ban on giving away animals as prizes.

Instead children who were accompanied by someone aged over 16, were allowed to take away fish.

However, many councils around the country enforce bans on council-owned land.

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