The Government has dropped plans to ban goldfish being given away as prizes at fairgrounds.
The draft Animal Welfare Bill was originally going to make it illegal to give away goldfish as fairground prizes, however, Environment Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, has now dropped this from the new legislation.
The Telegraph says that Hewitt bowed to pressures from fellow ministers who feared that introducing the ban on goldfish as prizes would expose the Government to accusations of running a nanny state.
Instead, the new Animal Welfare Bill will allow goldfish to be given away as prizes to children if they are accompanied by someone over the age of 16.
However, several local authorities had already enforced local bans on the use of goldfish as prizes.
In September 2003 Practical Fishkeeping reported that three Hampshire local authorities had banned the use of goldfish as prizes due to pressure from animal rights protesters.
Shortly after, we reported that Liverpool council had followed suit.
Practical Fishkeeping's Technical Editor, Matt Clarke, said: "The fishkeeping world will be very disappointed that this has been dropped from the proposed Animal Welfare Bill. The majority of goldfish won as prizes at fairs are kept in inappropriate conditions before they are won, and inevitably suffer when they finally reach home.
"Goldfish should never be kept in unfiltered aquariums or bowls, and must always be placed in properly dechlorinated water.
"Hopefully, local authorities will take note and ban the giving of pets as prizes in their areas."
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