Bristol Bans Goldfish As Prizes At Fairs After Calls From Activists

England’s city of Bristol has banned fairs and carnivals from using goldfish or other live animals as prizes.

The decision comes on the heels of a similar ban in Scotland, and an earlier Bristol ban on live animals in entertainment that put a stop to circuses and other acts now considered exploitative and abusive.

The goldfish ban is a sign of the “more enlightened times” we are living in, according to Conservative Councillor Jonathan Hucker, who brought the proposal to the Bristol City Council in early September.


Live goldfish, often given as a prize in little more than a plastic bag with a few cups of water, often die shortly after they are handed over. Because of the stressful conditions they are placed in, many do not even make it home with their new owners before succumbing to any number of issues.

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Further, most new fish owners don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to caring for even a “beginner” pet like goldfish, including a tank, food, and cleaning routine.


Lastly, many areas (including those outside the UK) have had issues with unwanted goldfish being dumped in lakes and ponds, encroaching on native species, and causing problems that can affect entire ecosystems.

The RSPCA, the largest animal welfare charity in the UK, lent their voice in advocacy of the ban, which has been well received by the community, including the mayor of Bristol, who Metro UK reported “fully supports” the proposal.

Photo: flickr/Mark Fischer

Hopefully, Bristol can serve as an example to other cities in the UK, or perhaps as a model for a nationwide ban.

Allowing the practice to continue clearly permits the exploitation of a living animal for cheap entertainment at the cost of natural ecosystems, animal welfare, and consumers.

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