Man swallows live goldfish at McDonald's


A man was filmed walking into a pet store and boasting to staff that he intended to eat the goldfish he was buying, before he later swallowed it in a stunt for the Internet drinking dare game Neknominate.

In the video, which was played at Wakefield Magistrate's Court, Robert Atkinson tells the shop assistant at a Pets at Home store: "I’m going to call him Demitri. I want a nice big one, we are going to eat it."

The film, shot by Atkinson's friend, Lewis Summers, then cuts to a McDonald's restaurant in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, where Atkinson drops the fish into a glass of beer and swallows it.

He tells diners: "That’s fish and chips, boys. I’ve got a goldfish inside me, I’m an animal."

The footage was later posted onto Facebook.

The RSPCA received reports about the video from concerned Facebook users and prosecuted the pair.

Atkinson admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, while Summers admitted aiding and abetting the causing of unnecessary suffering. The pair were both sentenced to 12 months community service and 40 hours of unpaid work and were ordered to each pay £723 court costs.

Prosecutor Andy Davidson, for the RSPCA, told the court: "The video speaks for itself."

Defence lawyer John Wilkinson said his clients hadn't known they were committing an offence when they made the video.

Sentencing the pair, District Judge Richard Clews told them: "You might say this fish only met the sort of death it would have in the wild. You might say: "Well it's only a goldfish".

"Both of those notions miss the point. Apart from anything else, the more defenceless an animal is, the more culpable the abuse is of it.

"It may not be obvious that fish have the same feelings that a dog or cat has, but that does not mean that they are incapable of experiencing pain and it's certainly no justification for treating them like that.

"That creature died a deeply painful and wholly unpleasant death.'

RSPCA spokeswoman Gemma Fowler said: "It's a horrible thing to do to a living animal, and I'm pleased that the courts have taken the same view.

"I hope that the sentence that's been handed down to the defendants acts as a deterrent and prevents this from happening again in future. It's shocking footage. The district judge was absolutely right.

"They showed a blatant disregard for that animal's life and welfare."

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