Wednesday, June 4, 2008

How To Keep The Goldfish|Goldfish Controversy

How To Keep The Goldfish

Although edible, goldfish are rarely eaten. A fad among North American college students for many years was swallowing goldfish as a stunt and as an initiation process for fraternities. The first recorded instance was in 1939 at Harvard University.The practice gradually fell out of popularity over the course of several decades and is now rare.

In the Belgian city of Geraardsbergen an annual festival is held where the medieval tradition of swallowing a small fish swimming in a cup of wine still survives. There have been a couple of court cases in the last decade but the tradition seems to survive nonetheless. The fish used is often a goldfish because of its size and price.

In many countries, the operators of carnivals and fairs commonly give goldfish away in plastic bags as prizes for winning games. In the United Kingdom, the government proposed banning this practice as part of its Animal Welfare Bill,though this has since been amended to only prevent goldfish being given as prizes to unaccompanied minors.Rome, Italy, passed a law in late 2005, which banned the use of goldfish or other animals as carnival prizes.

Rome has also banned the keeping of goldfish in goldfish bowls, on the premise that it is cruel for a fish to live in such a small space.In the UK, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 prohibits deliberate and “unnecessary suffering” to animals, but contrary to widespread belief, it does not explicitly outlaw the feeding of live feeder fish such as goldfish to other fish. However, it does prohibit introducing two animals for the purpose of “fighting, wrestling or baiting”.

Nonetheless, the assumption is that a legal case could be made to class the use of feeder fish as a "fight" and though as-yet untried in the courts, the risk of such a prosecution has led many retailers and hobbyists simply to treat the use of feeder fish in the UK as illegal.