Government rejects petition to ban goldfish prizes

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The Government has rejected a petition asking them to make it illegal to give fish as prizes.

The petition, which ran on the 10 Downing Street e-petitions website, was set up by Practical Fishkeeping reader Kirsty Stewart in May 2008 and had collected 721 signatures by the closing date.

It asked the Prime Minister to ban the giving of fish as prizes and said that although the RSPCA disapproved, the act was still legal and took place at fairgrounds and similar events.

The Government said: "The Animal Welfare Act 2006 contains a provision relating to the giving of pets as prizes.

"When the draft version of the Act was published in July 2004, the Government proposed to introduce a total ban on the giving of animals as prizes.

"In the version of the Act that was introduced in the House of Commons on 13 October 2005 we proposed to limit the ban to unaccompanied children under the age of 16.

"This proposal is now part of the final Act which received Royal Assent on 8 November 2006."

The Government said that it reconsidered a proposal for a total ban in the light of the Government's "better regulation agenda".

However, it concluded that the possible welfare benefits of a total ban were minimal and "did not justify ending the great pleasure felt by children and their families when they win a pet as a prize."

The Government spokesman added: "Finally the provision on pets as prizes in the Act is in line with the provision that raises from 12 to 16 the age at which children can buy a pet."

Further details on the Animal Welfare Act 2006 can be found on the Defra website.