Fears over welfare of funfair fish

Reporter: Beatriz Ayala
Date published: 24 February 2009

A FUNFAIR based in Hollinwood has denied animal cruelty claims.

Concerns were raised about the “Blackpool Comes to Oldham” attraction allowing teenagers and children to take home goldfish as prizes.

The current Animal Welfare Act 2007 prohibits giving animals as prizes to unaccompanied children under 16, except when accompanied by an adult.

The maximum penalty for a criminal prosecution is 51 weeks in jail and/or a £20,000 fine.
Kris Corbley, from Clarksfield, said he has reported his concerns to the RSPCA.

The 25-year-old police officer said: “Giving goldfish away as prizes is barbaric and outdated.

“I saw 11 and 12-year-olds walking away with goldfish but what fate will half of them suffer? I know from previous years some fish end up on the nearby M60 motorway.

“They are chucked off the motorway bridge because people don’t want to look after them.”

Mr Corbley said he was told both the RSPCA and Oldham Council’s Trading Standards officers would be looking into the matter.

He said: “The RSPCA said they were going to investigate it and Trading Standards are looking into it on welfare grounds.

“They said had the fair been on council land, they would have been able to enforce the law, but it’s on private land.

“I know people will say it’s only a fish but it’s the conditions they are being kept in.”

The fair, run by Jan de Koning Fun Fairs, is based at Hollinwood Avenue from February 13 to this Sunday March 1.

Jan de Koning (47), from Manchester, runs the fair and said: “It is not illegal to give goldfish away as prizes as long as government guidelines are adhered to.

“They are looked after well, are given away in proper bags and have the right amount of water.

“We don’t allow children under 14 into the fair alone and we would not let children aged 11 or 12 have a fish.

“Just because children walk round holding one of our goldfish, doesn’t mean they have won it as a prize.

“We were visited by an Oldham Council representative on Friday who chatted to us about the guidelines and went away happy.

“There are no problems.”

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