Rome bans bowls and fairground goldfish


The Italian city of Rome has banned goldfish bowls and the giving away of goldfish as prizes at fairs.

A new by-law introduced this week makes it illegal to give away fish as prizes, keep goldfish in bowls and dock the ears and tails of dogs. It also makes it mandatory for dog owners to walk their dog at least once each day.

Rome council hasn't stated exactly why they have banned bowls but, bizarrely, Rome's daily newspaper Il Messaggero is claiming that goldfish bowls cause goldfish to go blind.

Monica Cirinna, the councillor responsible for developing the by-law, told the Reuters news agency: "It's good to do whatever we can for our animals who in exchange for a little love fill our existence with their attention. The civilisation of a city can also be measured by this."

Still legal over here

We reported in March 2005 that there was uproar among the fishkeeping community that the British government had backed down on its decision to make it illegal to give goldfish as prizes at fairs.

We ran a poll to determine how readers felt about the subject, and 88% believed that the government was wrong in its decision to back down.

Well over 1350 fishkeepers wrote to Practical Fishkeeping, and the vast majority have slammed the government for its about-turn.

The draft Animal Welfare Bill was due to make it illegal to give away goldfish as fairground prizes. However, Environment Secretary Patricia Hewitt later dropped this from the new legislation.

The media reported that Hewitt "bowed to pressures" from fellow ministers who feared that introducing the ban could expose the Government to accusations of running a nanny state. Instead, the new Bill will allow goldfish to be given away to children if they are accompanied by over-16s.

The majority of Practical Fishkeeping readers want to see both goldfish bowls and fairground goldfish banned.