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800-Year-Old Funfair Stops Giving Goldfish As Prizes After Man Swallows One

800-Year-Old Funfair Stops Giving Goldfish As Prizes After Man Swallows One

The RSPCA is against offering any animal as a prize in a game

Amelia Ward

Amelia Ward

An 800-year-old funfair has been forced to scrap the tradition of offering goldfish as prizes after a man was filmed swallowing one alive.

The video was uploaded to Snapchat, where it was widely shared before being reported to the RSPCA by people concerned about what they had seen.

Organisers at Bridgwater Fair in Somerset say they won't be given out in future, after Joshua Coles, 27, of Tiverton, Devon admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

In the clip, Coles can be seen with the live fish in his hand before swallowing it with a drink and holding his mouth open to the camera.

Coles was sentenced at Exeter Crown Court and was ordered to pay £300 with £85 victim surcharge. He was also banned from keeping fish for five years.

The fish can be seen writhing about before being swallowed alive.

The Showmen's Guild, the organisers behind Bridgwater Fair, confirmed goldfish will no longer be offered as prizes at future fairs in the town following the incident.

It is not known if a similar ban will affect other funfairs.

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA welcomed the ban at Bridgwater Fair and said goldfish offered as prizes often 'suffer miserably' and are 'easily stressed'.

She said: "We're pleased to hear fish will not be available as prizes at this year's Bridgwater Fair, and hope this will be a permanent change that will see animals no longer given as prizes at the town's popular fair in future years too.

"The RSPCA is opposed to the giving of live animals as prizes and would say to people who sees this at other events - don't be tempted.

"Animal ownership is a big responsibility that needs to be planned and well thought-out - not a spur of the moment thing that happens just because someone has won a prize.

"Games offering animals as prizes don't take this into consideration.

"Very often the 'prize' animals suffer miserably, as the busy fairground, show or even country fête is just too much for them.

The man has been banned from owning fish for five years.

"Goldfish are often offered as prizes, but are easily stressed. They may suffer from shock, oxygen starvation or even die from changes in water temperature. Many fairground fish die before their new owners can get them home - or soon afterwards.

"Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to enter into an arrangement with a person reasonably believed to be under 16 who is not accompanied by an adult, whereby an animal is to be won as a prize.

"We'd encourage anyone with concerns to help to stop this by contacting your local authority or the event organiser and ask them to adopt a policy of not allowing animals to be given as prizes at any fundraising activities held in their buildings or on their land."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: UK News